Coronavirus Spreading in U.S. Could Cause ‘Severe’ Disruption to Daily Life, Health Officials Warn


Ecowatch has reported that the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, could cause “severe” disruption to daily life in the U.S. after an official warning on Tuesday, prompted by the spread of the new virus in countries outside its epicenter, such as Iran, Japan, South Korea and Italy, in an NPR report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Nancy Messonnier believes it is not a question of whether the disease will occur in the U.S., but when it will and how many people will be affected with severe illness.  She also suggested that Americans prepare for childcare, remote work possibilities and a means to receive medical care away from public health care facilities to minimize contact and spread.

The new disease has sickened more than 80,000 people in 37 countries and killed more than 2,600, according to The New York Times. The U.S. has seen only 57 cases to date, and 40 of them were linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was the sight of an outbreak when it docked in Japan.

“The immediate risk to the general American public remains low. But, as we have warned, that has the potential to change quickly,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said during Tuesday’s press conference, according to NBC News.  “We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus,” Azar told the Senate Tuesday, according to The New York Times. “And we need to be realistic about that.”  So far, the U.S. has responded by issuing travel restrictions and instituting the first federal quarantine in 50 years, according to NPR, but officials do not think such methods can succeed forever.  Cruise ships are being denied entry to ports leaving passengers to wonder their fate.  Many individuals are facing a mandatory quarantine under a direct order from federal authorities to stay in the same place for a brief period of time, while medical professionals assess whether they have been infected with a particular disease.

Drop in cases in China.

The effective measures taken to build new hospitals and lock down cities impacted with COVID-19 may be the reason the number of cases are falling in China, where the disease first emerged in December of 2019. Epidemiologist Bruce Aylward said this spoke to the success of  those steps taken in the country to fight the disease.

United States Administration.

Despite the warnings of his own health officials, President Donald Trump has downplayed the risk of the disease, stating it is under control in the United States.  Many state and local officials have expressed concerns that the administration’s cuts to public health programs could hamper the U.S. response.  Research and investigation will need to continue to realize the best means to contain the virus and provide a vaccine.

Funding earmarked by Congress.

The administration requested $2.5 billion from Congress this week to contain and fight the new virus. The money would go towards public health surveillance programs, testing for the disease and vaccine development, according to NBC News.  As new cases emerge, despite effort to contain the spread from people traveling to and from the United States, it is suggested that Americans take quiet measures that will not incite panic, but may be prudent to protect themselves and their families from exposure.  As the CDC moves forward, they will address any public outcries for information relevant to impacts to daily life in the United States.




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