This story comes from a news conference held today by the Centers for Disease Control:
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said today it appears inevitable that COVID-19 (coronavirus) will spread in United States communities. Officials said it’s no longer a matter of if, but when.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the spread of the new coronavirus in countries other than China has officials concerned about outbreaks in the United States.
The CDC says the agency is preparing to address the potential spread of the virus in the U.S. and it’s encouraging Americans to begin planning as well.
Messonier said that officials don’t know whether the spread of the disease in the U.S. would be mild or severe, but Americans should be ready for “significant disruptions” to their daily lives.
“We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” Messonnier said.
If the virus begins to spread amongst Americans, the CDC says it will becomes increasingly important to implement basic precautions to prevent more infections. That includes staying home when ill and practicing respiratory and hand hygiene.
The virus is believed to have originated from Wuhan, China, where early patients had some link to a large seafood and live animal markets.
The CDC says more than 2,400 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, with a majority of the deaths in mainland China. However, other countries are now battling sizable outbreaks as well.
Europe’s biggest outbreak is in Italy, where more than 280 people have reportedly been infected. Iran has reported at least 95 cases. And, South Korea has more than 970 cases.
At this time, there’s no vaccine or medicine to help stop the spread of the virus.
As of Tuesday (February 25, 2020), the CDC had confirmed 14 cases in the U.S., 12 being travel-related and two from person-to-person spread. A total of 43 cases have been confirmed in the group of people repatriated to the U.S. from either Wuhan or the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan, the CDC says. That’s a total of 57 cases.