Given the growing global concern about the outbreak of the coronavirus, the United States is taking steps to prepare for the possibility of a pandemic, the disease control and prevention centers said on Friday.
Health officials closely monitor the spread of the virus – not only in China, where the outbreak began and where the vast majority of the nearly 77,000 cases were diagnosed – but also in the growing number of cases in other countries. By definition, a pandemic is an epidemic on more than one continent.
In South Korea, officials said cities were facing an “unprecedented crisis” as the number of cases doubled in a single day and rose to over 200. Many of the infections diagnosed in Korea are associated with a single worship service, officials said, urging residents to stay inside as much as possible.
Lebanon diagnosed its first case on Friday. The Iranian Ministry of Health has confirmed 18 cases of illness, including four deaths.
In the United States, the number of confirmed cases rose to at least 34 as a number of evacuated people tested positive on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
According to the CDC, several other Americans who were on board the ship were diagnosed and hospitalized in Japan. There were no plans to evacuate these patients until Friday afternoon. The US State Department said it would not save other Americans who choose to cruise in Asia.
“Such return flights do not reflect our standard practice and should not be used as an option for US citizens,” said State Department chief Ian Brownlee during a press conference on Friday.
On its website, the ministry has warned Americans to rethink planned cruises to or within Asia and states that such trips “may be subject to travel restrictions that affect their travel routes or ability to disembark, or may be subject to quarantine procedures be carried out by the local authorities. “”
The number of cases of US coronaviruses is almost certain to increase as thousands of people who have recently traveled to China volunteer to quarantine and monitor symptoms in their homes for 14 days.
The system seems to be working. Coronavirus was confirmed on Friday in a self-quarantined traveler in Sacramento County, California. The patient, who was not yet on the CDC list of 34, had mild symptoms, according to Sacramento County Public Health.
Nevertheless, the CDC is preparing for the event that the outbreak worsens.
“We review all of our pandemic preparedness materials and adapt them to COVID-19,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, on Friday during a media briefing using the name of the coronavirus caused by the disease. “The materials will serve as a blueprint for the community interventions that we will use here in the United States.”
This means stepping up infection control procedures, ensuring that healthcare workers have adequate care, and planning for a possible influx of patients.
There could be a time when more aggressive measures, such as the temporary closure of schools or businesses in the United States, are needed, she added.
Can the corona virus be included?
How countries can contain the virus and prevent continued human-to-human transmission will be important to determine the “ultimate endgame” of the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. NBC News said.
“If infection control gets out of control in many of these countries around the world, it will be very difficult to prevent cases from traveling to all parts of the world,” said Fauci. “That’s how a pandemic begins.”
As part of a team of international scientists led by the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health and CDC have staff in China who are monitoring containment and infection control efforts. They are due to travel to the epicenter of the outbreak, Wuhan, on Saturday.
“We still believe we can contain the virus,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday during a press conference. “But the time window is getting narrower.”