Peril has camped out on our doorstep: U.S. health officials issued a strong warning about novel coronavirus on Tuesday — that it’s no longer a matter of if, but when it will spread in the U.S., and that Americans should prepare for a “significant disruption.” Until now, health officials said they’d hoped to prevent community spread in the U.S. But following community transmissions in Italy, Iran and South Korea, health officials believe the virus may not be able to be contained at the border. This comes in contrast to statements from the Trump administration. Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Tuesday the threat to the U.S. from coronavirus “remains low,” despite the White House seeking $1.25 billion in emergency funding to combat the virus. “Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Tuesday at a news conference. Messonnier added that Americans should channel their concern about the virus, officially called COVID-19, into preparing for its arrival.
Americans should continue to practice protective measures — hand-washing, staying home from work when sick — while local officials should make sure systems are in place – tele-schooling, working remotely — should face-to-face interactions need to be reduced. Health care facilities should be prepared to increase tele-health systems and delay elective surgeries should the need arise. Messonnier noted that every community’s response will be different. What’s appropriate for a community with local transmission may not be appropriate for a community in which no local transmissions have occurred. So far there has been no community spread in the United States. Forty-three people repatriated on charter flights from Wuhan, China, or from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19, and 14 cases have been detected in the U.S. via the country’s health system. Among those 57 cases, only two involved human transmission in the United States, and those transmissions were among members of the same household.
If the White House’s request for funds is improved, the $1.25 billion will be earmarked for accelerated vaccine development, the procurement of equipment and supplies and to support preparedness and response activities, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the request “long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency.” She also accused President Donald Trump of leaving “critical positions in charge of managing pandemics at the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security vacant.” She added that lawmakers in the House of Representatives “will swiftly advance a strong, strategic funding package that fully addresses the scale and seriousness of this public health crisis.”
WHO experts in China are currently reporting a 2% to 4% fatality rate in Wuhan and a 0.7% fatality rate outside the city. For mild cases of the disease, there’s a roughly two-week recovery rate, and for more severe cases, the recovery rate is between three and six weeks. –ABC News
Grave hardships for some: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday warned that it expects the novel coronavirus to begin spreading in the U.S. at the community level, and that “disruption to everyday life may be severe. As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” Messonnier said. “Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illness.” –Fox News