The death and indications of possible spread signaled a new, urgent phase in the response to the virus in the United States, where 65 cases had previously been reported, none of them fatal. Most of the cases could be explained by overseas travel or contact with someone who had been ill. This week, though, four new cases, in California, Oregon and Washington, were the first in the United States where the cause was mysterious and unknown — a sign, experts warned, that the virus, which has killed more than 2,800 people worldwide and sickened tens of thousands of others, might now be spreading in the United States.
Mr. Trump, who is anxious about the virus and the toll it has taken on the stock market, which he tracks closely as a measurement of his economic record, suggested that the virus was manageable and that “the markets will all come back.”
“We have one problem,” he added. “We have to get this problem brought into focus.”
Officials in Washington State were already discussing the possibility that they may recommend cancellations of public events, including sports and entertainment, to limit the spread. They began warning that life in the coming weeks may change drastically.
Washington State leaders, who had for weeks reiterated that the risk to the general public was low, issued a more insistent message.
“We really believe that the risk at this point is increasing,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, a health officer for the state.
In Oregon, where officials say that an elementary school employee was among the new, unexplained cases, concerns were raised that children may have been exposed. District officials announced they would shut down the school until Wednesday and conduct a deep cleaning of the building.
Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Oregon’s state health officer, said a broader closure of schools is an option the state could pursue at some point.
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