US President Donald Trump on Wednesday called the coronavirus pandemic the worst “attack” the country had ever experienced and blamed China for not stopping it, amid a deepening war of words between the United States and China over the virus.
Mr Trump said the outbreak had hit the US harder than the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in World War Two, or the 9/11 attacks two decades ago.
His administration is weighing punitive actions against China over its early handling of the global emergency.
Beijing says the US wants to distract from its own response to the pandemic.
Since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the coronavirus is confirmed to have infected 1.2 million Americans, killing more than 73,000.