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Reason to be hopeful even as coronavirus death toll rises over 2K, experts say

TOPSHOT - People wearing facemasks as a preventative measure following a coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, line up to purchase face masks from a makeshift stall after queueing for hours following a registration process during which they were given a pre-sales ticket, in Hong Kong on February 5, 2020. - The new coronavirus which appeared late December has claimed nearly 500 lives, infected more than 24,000 people in mainland China and spread to more than 20 countries. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – As the global coronavirus death toll grows past 2,000, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease says the virus is approaching pandemic levels.

“We are approaching that. I think if we continue to have transmission in various parts of the world that it could turn into the classic definition of pandemic,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

But Fauci says there’s reason to be hopeful.

He says travel restrictions, treatment, and quarantines have worked both in the U.S. and abroad.

So far, about 2-percent of those infected end up dying but Dr. Fauci says the real rate is likely much lower because many people who contract the virus recover without ever reporting it.

“Far more people recover or are asymptomatic than actually get into trouble,” Fauci said.

“There will be more cases. The question now is will we be able to manage the cases,” Representative Raul Ruiz, D-California, said.

Dozens of people exposed to the virus are quarantined in Congressman Raul Ruiz’ Riverside District, among a few hundred across the state of California.

He says lawmakers need to make sure medical centers and quarantine sites have funding and resources they need and support new research.

“It is a matter of finding the policies and giving the resources to fast track the vaccines, the medications,” Ruiz said.

Both Fauci and Ruiz say with the World Health Organization now in China, much less of a chance of wide-spread impact here in the United States.

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