According to several confirmed reports, the Center Of Disease Control has issued a warning to all Americans to prepare for an inevitable spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Federal officials sent out the warning following outbreaks of the virus in several countries outside of its origin of China, including Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea.

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but more really a question of when it will happen — and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said to reporters during a media conference.

Small measures of preparation will include cancellation of public outings and large gatherings but could go as far as seeing school cancellations, workplace shutdowns, and public transportation restrictions.

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So far, there have been 14 confirmed cases of the coronavirus illness COVID-19 in the U.S. and 40 other cases among people from the Diamond Princess cruise who were repatriated to the U.S., according to the CDC.

Hand-washing with soap and water continues to be a top recommendation to protect against the virus since the abrasiveness of soap helps remove infectious particles from the hands. Experts say that commonly worn surgical masks are not very effective in protection against the virus A heavy-duty mask called an N95 respirator is a considerably better protection, but it is uncomfortable to wear and can make breathing more difficult.

The CDC has issued an advisory against nonessential travel to China, South Korea and other countries that have seen the highest numbers of cases.