US coronavirus cases have surged to more than 1,000 as a White House expert warns the rapid spread will kill more people.
Dr Anthony Fauci said officials were taking an "all hands on deck" approach as the deadly disease caused 31 US deaths and cases across 36 states.
So far, the majority of deaths occurred in Washington state (24) with three deaths in California, and two in Florida, while New Jersey and South Dakota both confirmed one death.
The states with the greatest number of cases are Washington with 271, New York which has 173, 159 in California and 92 in Massachusetts, reports NBC.
But Fauci urged officials to plan for immediate measures even in certain coronavirus-free states at a press briefing with Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday.
The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said "it doesn't matter if you're in a state that has no cases or one case."
"You have to start taking seriously what you can do now that if and when the infections will come – and they will come – sorry to say, sad to say, they will," he told reporters.
Fauci said coronavirus cases will mount around the world but assured attendees the Trump administration was "paying particular attention to the cases in Europe, Italy and France."
His comments come as Italy is enduring a complete lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which first emerged in Wuhan, China.
Although he said it wouldn't be appropriate to close all schools – even though some are already closed for cleaning – Fauci admitted "everything is on the table for consideration."
"So the idea that we're not closing all – I mean I think for the country right now to say 'we're going to close all the schools in the country,' I don't think would be appropriate," he said.
"Would school closures be appropriate depending upon not whether you have already, the horse is out of the barn, but when you start to see we're getting danger here so let's do it?"
"But I do think it would be appropriate to carefully try and do things like closing but there's other things besides closing to do real mitigation, sometime before you think you really need it.
"What we need to do is have less people infected and ultimately have less deaths. You do that by trying to interfere with the natural flow of the outbreak."
While Fauci noted the disturbing community spread in some areas, Pence was keen to emphasize that the risk to "the average American of contracting the coronavirus remains low."
His comments come as 1,406 people got off the "breeding ground" Grand Princess cruise in Oakland, California, at around 7pm.
A Princess Cruises spokesperson told The Sun the evacuation would be a "multiple day process" after 21 passengers tested positive for the virus.
Hours earlier, President Donald Trump encouraged Americans to remain calm despite the increasing death toll.
"It will go away. Just stay calm, it will go away," he said during a press conference on Capitol Hill after he discussed the spread with Republican senators.
Trump's calming comments appeared to be at odds with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's response in sending the the National Guard to New York suburb, New Rochelle.
It will go away. Just stay calm, it will go away.
Cuomo enforced a mile-radius coronavirus "containment area" in Westchester County where clusters of confirmed cases rapidly emerged last week.
On Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee will announce a ban on gatherings and events of more than 250 people in virtually the entire Seattle metro area, reports say.
The ban would apply to sporting events like Seattle Mariners baseball and Seattle Sounders soccer games.
Santa Clara County in California – home to San Jose and Silicon Valley – also announced a ban on all gatherings of 1,000 people or more on Monday while Coachella was postponted for six months.
Over in Massachusetts, cases statewide jumped to 92 – 70 of these were connected to meeting held by biotech company Biogen at a Boston hotel.
Governor Charlie Baker said implementing the state of emergency there will enable him to shut down large events, gain access to buildings or stockpile protective gear.
As officials increased mitigation measures, large events were canceled and companies like Google implemented remote-work strategies to curb the spread.
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