US could soon become epicenter of virus pandemic after ‘very large acceleration’ in cases, WHO warns

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A man looks toward the skyline from Bernal Heights Hill in San Francisco, Monday, March 16, 2020. Officials in six San Francisco Bay Area counties issued a shelter-in-place mandate Monday affecting nearly 7 million people, including the city of San Francisco itself. The order says residents must stay inside and venture out only for necessities for three weeks starting Tuesday in a desperate attempt by officials to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The World Health Organization is warning that the United States could soon become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic after a “very large acceleration” in cases in recent days.

In a press conference Tuesday, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said there has been a “very large acceleration” in cases in the US in recent days, Reuters reports.

Harris said in the past 24 hours, 85% of all new reported coronavirus cases had been in the US and Europe, with 40% of those in the US.

“We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the US. So it does have that potential,” Harris said when asked if the US could become the epicenter of the pandemic.

“We cannot say that is the case yet, but it does have that potential,” she added.

Harris’ announcement comes after President Donald Trump reassured the American public that the country would soon be “open for business.”

“America will, again, and soon, be open for business — very soon,” Trump told a White House coronavirus briefing on Monday.

While certain states have already imposed stay-at-home orders such as in California, Trump has yet to impose a national lockdown.

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown on Monday night, while India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a complete lockdown for India’s 3 billion people on Tuesday.

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