Coronavirus US: Quarantine across America is 'inevitable' top doctor warns as stocks take record plunge

Alex Woodward
An image showing the virus (round blue objects) that causes COVID-19 under a scanning electron microscope: EPA

As more cases of the flu-like respiratory illness are reported across the US, Mike Pence - recently appointed by Donald Trump to lead the administration's response - has insisted the government is in control of the virus despite thousands of people under medical monitoring and officials' scepticism of the vice president's abilities to handle the outbreak.

Market analysts predict record lows for the Dow Jones, seeing one of its worst weeks since the financial crisis, amid fears of a global pandemic, as the president downplays the threat and his allies claim that criticism of the response has been "weaponised" to attack Trump.

After falling by more than 1,100 points on Thursday, the Dow Jones lost 1,000 points moments after the US market opened, marking one of the worst-ever weeks on Wall Street not seen since the financial crisis in 2008.

The S&P 500 also lost another 3 per cent after seeing an all-time high just last week as market analysts predict a market correction.

Meanwhile, health officials in New York City confirmed a patient is being medically investigated for the virus, as other residents in the state are moved into quarantine.

The latest warnings arrive as officials begin to untangle the US response to the virus, including the evacuation of Americans from Wuhan and a whistle-blower report claiming that health officials didn't train workers nor equip with with protection.

California Congressman John Garamendi has blamed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for "failing to take immediate, aggressive action" after a California resident was likely the first confirmed patient to be infected with coronavirus through "community spread" and not direct contact with an infected person who had travelled back into the US.

Pence told Sean Hannity on Fox News late Thursday that the virus risk "remains low" thanks to the president's "decisive action" to combat it.

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