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59 people have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus in the U.S., an increase in cases largely driven by the repatriation of American citizens from the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The big picture: As more countries experience community-wide transmission, CDC official Dr. Nancy Messonnier told reporters Tuesday that it's now a question of when the same will happen in the U.S. — and how many citizens will develop a severe illness.

  • Two of the cases were contracted through person-to-person contact.

What's happening: The CDC outlined standard public health measures to mitigate spread of the virus on Tuesday, including what closing schools and businesses would look like in a U.S. pandemic.

  • "We really want to prepare the American public for the possibility that their lives will be disrupted," Messonnier said.
  • Schools and workplaces may need to explore tele-commuting and online assignments. Hospitals also may need to regroup patients.

Full coverage: The latest coronavirus developments

Editor's note: This story has been updated to a more current case count in the U.S.

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Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

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Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

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Commission on Presidential Debates wants changes

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that it plans to implement changes to rules for the remaining debates, after Tuesday night's head-to-head between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was practically incoherent for most of the night.

What they are saying: "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement.

Trump says he doesn't know who Proud Boys are after telling them to "stand by"

President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are, after saying at the presidential debate last night that the far-right group should "stand back and stand by" in response to a question asking him to condemn white supremacists.

Why it matters: The comments set off outrage and calls for clarification from a number of Republican senators. After being asked several times on Wednesday whether he will condemn white supremacy, Trump responded, "I have always denounced any form — any form of any of that, you have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa."