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CDC says US coronavirus cases rise by 20 in a day, topping at least 149

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday confirmed 20 new cases of COVID-19 over 24 hours, bringing the United States total to at least 149.

At least 49 of those cases are people who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, or the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the CDC said, adding that the data was current as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.  At least 30 are travel-related infections, while 17 were caused by person-to-person spread. U.S. health officials are also investigating 53 other cases with no clear source of the infection, the CDC said.

The CDC said it’s tested 1,526 people for the flu-like virus as of Wednesday. That does include testing being done at state and local public health laboratories, which began this week, the agency said.

Earlier in the day, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 — a man and a woman with no known connection to other people who have the virus.

The World Health Organization is urging nations to “pull out all the stops” to fight COVID-19 as it continues to spread outside of China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

“This epidemic can be pushed back but only with a coordinated and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “We’re calling on every country to act with speed, scale and clear-minded determination.”

Earlier in the outbreak, the CDC sent out test kits to public health labs across the country. CDC officials have since said those kits were defective, and it released new guidance and kits for detecting the virus. Cities and states are now working on improving their local capacity for diagnosis so that clinicians don’t have to depend on shipping the tests to CDC labs, which can delay the process.

The U.S. currently has just 1% of the required number of respirator masks that would be needed for medical professionals if the COVID-19 outbreak erupts into a pandemic, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. House and Senate leaders reached a bipartisan deal Wednesday providing roughly $8.3 billion in emergency funding to help fight the outbreak in the U.S. It sets aside just $1 billion for medical supplies and health-care preparedness, according to a House Democratic aide.