Batten down the proverbial hatches, America, because health officials say a bigger coronavirus outbreak in the US is pretty much inevitable!
As the number of cases of the deadly virus continues to rise in and outside of China, the Centers for Disease Control urged Americans to start preparing for the likelihood that coronavirus will spread stateside, too.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, explained:
“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country anymore but a question of when this will happen.”
Yup, basically we’re gonna have to live out the movie Contagion whether we like it or not, which is why Dr. Messonnier says we should at least know what’s heading our way.
The director said Americans “need to prepare for a significant disruption” to their lives, meaning planning for possible school closures as well as finding out about teleworking options and if their health care providers offer telemedicine options.
If that wasn’t ominous enough, she added:
“We are asking the American public to prepare in the expectation that this could be bad.”
So, just worry our little heads off, essentially.
Previously, officials said the risk to the average American is “low,” but experts are now changing their tunes after the recent sudden spread of the *new* coronavirus, officially dubbed COVID-19, in countries outside of China.
Over the weekend, cases of the virus spiked in Italy, with 283 cases and seven deaths; South Korea, with 977 cases and 10 deaths; and Iran, with 95 cases and 16 deaths. Countries like Austria and Croatia recently confirmed they’ve seen their first cases.
The disease doctor explained:
“The spread in other countries has raised our level of concern and raised our level of expectation that we are going to have community spread here. We’re asking folks in every sector as well as people within their families to start planning for this, because as we’ve seen from the recent countries that have had community spread, when it’s hit in those countries it has moved quite rapidly so we want to make sure that the American public is prepared.”
Dr. Messonnier added that the CDC is unsure if the US, which currently has 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus, will have as dramatic of a spread as China, Italy, and South Korea, noting:
“What we still don’t know is what that will look like. We can have community spread in the United States and have it be relatively mild and we can have community spread in the U.S. and have it be very severe, so that is what we don’t completely know yet, and we of course don’t completely know when it’s going to happen.”
But she hopes that, by heeding her words, America will be “overprepared.” She added:
“I continue to hope that in the end we will look back and feel like we were overprepared, but that is a better place to be in than being underprepared. Any preparedness we do as a country and within schools and businesses and our families will always be helpful for whatever the next event is.”
Better to be over-prepared than underprepared — especially for something like this!
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