The vice president address the media on the White Houses efforts to confront the disease

Vice President Mike Pence and members of the new coronavirus task force are expected to give a briefing Friday on efforts being made to combat the outbreak.

Pence, the head of the task force, will travel to Florida Saturday to meet with cruise ship operators who have felt the economic impact of the virus after some ships were turned away from various ports over fears that passengers and crew members could be infected.


Globally, the virus has spread to 85 countries, infecting 99,624 people and claiming the lives of more than 3,400 others.

The bulk of the cases are in mainland China, where the outbreak originated in December 2019. The U.S. has 244 confirmed cases in 18 states and 12 deaths, the majority in Washington state.

President Trump has defended his administration’s response to the outbreak amid criticism from Democrats and some medical health professionals. He said Pence was “working 20 hours a day or more” to spearhead prevention efforts during a Fox News town hall Thursday in Scranton, Pa.

Earlier Friday, Trump signed an $8.3 billion spending package to provide funds to federal agencies and state and local government to battle the disease.

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