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Pence: ‘We could have more’ coronavirus deaths

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 29: U.S. President Donald Trump listens as Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference at the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House February 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. Department of Health in Washington State has reported the first death in the U.S. related to the coronavirus. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that while most Americans face a low risk from coronavirus, more US deaths could be imminent following the nation’s first confirmed fatality.

“We know there will be more cases,” Pence told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a clip released Saturday, echoing President Donald Trump’s earlier comments that additional cases in America were “likely.” The full interview between Pence and Tapper is airing on Sunday’s “State of the Union.”

When asked whether more Americans could die from the disease, Pence, who Trump has put in charge of coronavirus response and messaging, replied, “It is possible.”

Pence said that the situation explained to him by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and others is that “most people that contract the coronavirus, they will recover. They will deal with a respiratory illness, we’ll get them treatment.”

The vice president cautioned that the US could experience “more sad news.”

“But for people that have other conditions that would militate toward a worse outcome that, we could have more. We could have more sad news,” Pence said. “But the American people should know the risk for the average American remains low.”

Pence’s comments come after the Trump administration announced new travel restrictions following news of the first US fatality from the disease. The patient died in Washington and appears to have become ill through community spread, according to Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who spoke alongside the President at a briefing Saturday.

Pence said at the briefing that the US would be expanding travel restrictions from Iran “to include any foreign national who has visited Iran within the last 14 days.” He also said the US would heighten a travel advisory for specific regions of Italy and South Korea.

“We are urging Americans to not travel to the areas in Italy and the areas in South Korea that are most affected by the coronavirus,” Pence said.