Trump has scheduled a 6:30 p.m. ET news conference.
Investors are growing concerned about the economic impact of the coronavirus, as is the President, whose reelection campaign is banking on a strong economy.
“We expect we will see community spread in this country,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”
According to administration sources, Trump has been displeased with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar — for failing to keep him updated on crucial decisions concerning the virus — and Messonnier — the CDC official who has been a public face of the coronavirus response — for what officials claim is overly fatalistic messaging.
White House officials have privately weighed appointing a czar to oversee the administration’s response to the growing novel coronavirus outbreak, despite public denials by members of the administration, sources familiar said.
But publicly, the White House has maintained that the President is confident in the current efforts by administration officials already appointed to assist with the coronavirus response.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere tweeted Wednesday that a report indicating Trump was weighing whether to appoint a czar “is not true!”
Azar told lawmakers that he doesn’t anticipate a czar being appointed anytime soon.
Lawmakers have also called on Trump to appoint someone to oversee the response, which came up during a clash over the administration’s request for more coronavirus funding. Some White House officials accused HHS of requesting disproportionate amounts of money to cover up what one official described as Azar’s “mismanagement.”
Travel restrictions under consideration
And behind the scenes, Trump is pushing for more travel restrictions on countries where the virus is spreading to, administration officials tell CNN, but so far, no decisions have been made.
Administration officials have been privately weighing imposing additional travel bans similar to the one the US has already imposed with regard to foreigners who have been in China, a senior administration official and sources close to the White House said.
“If it gets to the point where we need to do that, we will,” a senior administration official said.
The administration increased the travel advisory warning for Japan and South Korea earlier this week, so those two countries would be likely targets for increased travel restrictions.
There have been more than 80,000 cases of coronavirus globally and the death toll has risen to more than 2,700, the majority in mainland China.
The US has 60 confirmed cases, US health officials said Tuesday, a number that is expected to grow.
In January, the WHO declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.”
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, Eliott C. McLaughlin and James Griffiths contributed to this report.