A top official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans on Tuesday that the agency expects Coronavirus, the new respiratory disease that has killed nearly 3,000, to spread to the U.S.

“We expect we will see community spread in this country,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”

The CDC tweeted Tuesday that “Now is the time for US businesses, hospitals, and communities to begin preparing for the possible spread of [coronavirus].”

As of Feb. 23, the CDC reports that there have been 14 diagnosed cases in the United States, and an additional 39 cases among repatriated persons from high-risk settings, including 36 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, for a current total of 53 cases within the United States.

Twelve of the 14 reported cases were related to travel to China, the country the disease appears to have originated in. The other two cases were household contacts of a person with the virus. There have been no reported deaths in the U.S. from the virus.

The World Health Organization reported Tuesday that the number of new cases reported outside China exceeded the number of new cases within China for the first time.

Due to the worldwide count surpassing 80,000 people and at least 2,700 reported deaths, Messonnier said the CDC is planning for the virus to begin to spread within the U.S.

“The data over the last week, and the spread in other countries, has certainly raised our level of concern and raised our level of expectation” of community spread, she said.

Symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to that of a common cold: runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache, and possibly a fever. Children, elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of the infection escalating into bronchitis or pneumonia.

Read more about:

Get the free uPolitics mobile app for the latest political news and videos

iPhone Android

Leave a comment