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SoCal Economy Could Be Hit Hard By Growing State and National Response To Coronavirus, Experts Say

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Southern Californians should expect to see a dip in the economy due to the growing precautions put in place to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in the U.S.

More airlines are canceling flights to and from China in response to the rapid spread of the virus, which experts say will continue to impact the Los Angeles economy.

"With all the flight cancellation to and from China, this going to have a huge impact not only on trade but the tourism industry as well," said Stephen Cheung, the president of the World Trade Center Los Angeles.

The L.A. Tourism and Convention Board said it expects to see a drop of 325,000 Chinese visitors, which translates to about a $921 million hit to the local economy.

"Less tourists coming to this region means less money spent on hotels, restaurants, and shops. So, we are worried that some of these restaurants and shops, especially the mom-and-pop shops, can't withstand a long period of retraction," Cheung said.

The coronavirus is not currently spreading in U.S. communities, according to the federal government. Both the CDC and HHS have said that person-to-person spread of coronavirus in the U.S. has only been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but the CDC warned Tuesday that could change.

In a meeting regarding the fight to keep coronavirus patients out of Costa Mesa, the Orange County Health Care Agency's assistant director, Dr. Nichole Quick, said that the CDC informed physicians on a teleconference call earlier in the day that there has been a shift in thinking on the virus.

"The CDC has now sort of announced it looks more like a matter of when, not if, there is community spread" of the virus in the U.S., "which is not surprising given the outbreaks in other countries," Quick said. "The messaging now is a discussion of the inevitability."

News also surfaced Tuesday that the University of Southern California is bringing home all exchange students in South Korea and affected areas of Italy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

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