Trump tries to ease coronavirus fears, Biden says U.S. not looking for 'revolution,' and Lori Loughlin latest: The Morning Rundown

A new California case could be first patient-to-patient coronavirus transmission in U.S.
Image: U.S. President Trump holds news conference on the coronavirus outbreak at the White House in Washington
President Donald Trump stands with Vice President Mike Pence and members of his coronavirus task force during a news conference at the White House on Wednesday. Carlos Barria / Reuters

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump says the coronavirus risk to Americans is "very low," but a case in California could show the virus may be spreading domestically.

Here's what we're watching this Thursday morning.


Trump defends coronavirus response, says administration is 'very, very ready for this'

President Trump on Wednesday tried to downplay fears over the coronavirus, saying that his administration has the situation under control and is "ready to adapt" if the virus spreads.

"We're very, very ready for this," Trump said, adding that 15 people had contracted the virus in the U.S. and that all were expected to recover.

Speaking in a rare appearance from the White House briefing room, Trump said he was putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of his administration's response.

The president's remarks came after fears over of a global pandemic continued to spook financial markets, which fell for the third straight day Wednesday.

But while Trump is telling Americans there's nothing to worry about, the country's top scientists said from the same podium: Not so fast, NBC's Jonathan Allen writes in a news analysis.

"We do expect more cases, and this is a good time to prepare," CDC Principal Deputy Director Ann Shuchat said minutes after Trump spoke.

And a confirmed case in California may be the first instance of person-to-person transmission within the U.S., the CDC said Wednesday.

But the head of a Sacramento health system said the CDC initially refused to test the patient, who had no known links to foreign travel, for COVID-19 despite a request to do so.

See our live blog for the latest updates on the outbreak.


Biden: Americans are looking for "progress," not "revolution"

With the South Carolina primary on Saturday and Super Tuesday next week, the Democratic presidential candidates are feeling the crunch and pulling out all the stops.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is challenging Bernie Sanders' vision of a national "revolution" — and questioning his promise of turning out millions of new voters to the polls.

"Look, the idea that there's going to be this revolution — Americans aren't looking for revolution," Biden told the "TODAY" show's Craig Melvin in an interview Wednesday in South Carolina.

In a rare intervention on behalf of his VP, former President Barack Obama demanded that a pro-Trump group stop airing a "despicable" ad that uses a recording of Obama's voice to attack Biden.

And billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer explained to NBC News why he's committed to the race, despite calls by some members of the "Democratic Establishment" for him to quit. He says his motivations are simple: He thinks he'd make a good president.

We took a look at the different paths for Democrats to win the Electoral College. None are easy.


Special Report: Trans, imprisoned — and trapped

At California’s Institution for Men in Chino, there are 78 female transgender prisoners living among more than 3,500 men.

Many live in fear of sexual assault and would prefer to be transferred to female prisons in accordance with their rights, but an NBC News investigation suggests the odds of a transfer are against them.

"I asked to go to a women’s prison, because I am a woman," said Michelle Kailani Calvin, a transgender woman seen below, who is incarcerated at a California men's prison.

But while she lives in fear for her safety, Calvin said her requests have been denied because she was assigned male at birth.


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Plus


THINK about it

Citizenship is a hypocritical scam of global proportions, professor of EU constitutional law Dimitry Kochenov writes in an opinion piece.


Live BETTER

This Trini-Chinese chicken from Sam Sifton's new cookbook "See You on Sunday" is the cure for dinnertime doldrums.


Shopping

Why dog harnesses are better than leashes.


Quote of the day

"I'm a demanding boss, and I'm a tough boss. I think I'm a very fair boss. But I'm demanding."

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg defending herself against claims in a new book that she's overly controlling.


One fun thing

Surfing in the desert?

If professional surfing legend Kelly Slater gets his way, the California desert might get just that.

He plans to open the world's largest artificial wave in the desert city of La Quinta, in the Coachella Valley.

"The Coachella Valley is dominated by more than 150 golf courses," said real estate developer Noah Hahn, a partner on the project. "This is a radically different vision."

A developer's rendering of the Coral Mountain resort planned for the California desert near Palm Springs. It would feature a big-wave machine developed by pro surfer Kelly Slater. CCY Architects

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra