US government is preparing for the possibility of a coronavirus pandemic that could last up to 18 months and ‘include multiple waves of illness’

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(CNN) – The federal government is preparing for the possibility the coronavirus pandemic could last up to 18 months or longer and “include multiple waves of illness,” a report obtained by CNN shows, as the number of the cases in the US surpassed 11,000.

While the document does not say the Trump administration believes the pandemic will last that long, it indicates officials have to assume a longer timeline to ensure preparedness.

The plan also outlines the risks posed by a shortage of medical equipment — an issue hospitals are already dealing with as the outbreak in the US shows no signs of slowing.

More than 2,700 new cases were reported in the US in the 24 hours from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning. In total, at least 11,015 people across the country have tested positive for the virus, as Thursday afternoon. At least 164 have died.

Those numbers continue to increase as testing becomes more available. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters in a White House briefing Thursday that “tens of thousands” of tests are being conducted across the country every day.

In New York state, almost 8,000 tests were done overnight, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Thursday morning. Officials later announced the state had 4,152 confirmed cases.

“When you do 8,000 tests,” the governor said, “the numbers are going to go up exponentially.”

The US government announced this week it would help make up for potential medical supply shortages and deploy two hospital ships to help increase medical capacity.

“I view it as, in a sense, of wartime president,” President Donald Trump said in a news conference Wednesday. “I mean, that’s what we’re fighting. It’s a very tough situation here.”

In many communities across the US, that burden has proved massive, with some hospitals saying they are down to days’ worth of equipment.

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