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Senator Braun addresses coronavirus response

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WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Despite a critical lag in initial testing for the new coronavirus, Senator Mike Braun, R-Indiana, says he is confident in the U.S. government’s ability to address the public health crisis, during an interview with ABC 57 on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

“We need to treat it with all the resources that we can bring to bear. I think for us, when you look at the numbers, it has been in a couple of clusters and we’ve got the benefit of the best infrastructure,” Braun said.

Braun said the United States was working with other countries to understand how they have dealt with COVID-19.

“We’ve learned from other countries and I think we’ll cope with it as well as anyone could expect, Braun said.

The public health crisis intensified Wednesday after the World Health Organization announced the new coronavirus spreading throughout the world had developed into a pandemic, as cases and deaths continued to rise worldwide.

“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director General, at a press conference Wednesday. “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

The WHO had been slow to declare a pandemic as the virus has made its increasingly unrelenting spread throughout the globe over a period of months. On Wednesday, 2,300 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed worldwide just in the preceding 24 hours alone.

The most severely affected countries continued to brace for additional cases and more deaths. In Italy, the death toll from the virus jumped to over 196 over the last day, raising the number of total fatalities in one of the hardest hit countries from the deadly pandemic to 827.

Amid the spread of the new coronavirus in the United States, the federal government has now shifted from a containment strategy into a mitigation phase. There are currently at least 10 cases in Indiana and over 30 people have died from the virus in the U.S.

“I think when we have it all to a point where we get a little more information by doing as many tests as we can, we’ll get a better feel for how many people have it and you know even better how to contain it," Braun said.

Braun acknowledged there had been a lag in testing in the early phases of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

“I think we got out of the gate slowly with the test kits and I think we’ve rectified that,” Braun said. “I think when you put the Vice President as your point person of this, and you look at the CDC, the National Institute of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, the FDA, we’ve got everybody at full alert.”

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