Tuesday, February 25, 2020

CDC: Officials Warn Coronavirus Outbreaks Likely in the U.S.

A woman in Milan, Italy where a coronavirus outbreak has occurred.
While Donald Trump and his sycophants are ignoring the advise of experts and saying that the coronavirus has been contained and that no outbreaks are likely in the USA, medical experts are telling a very different story.  Indeed, some are saying that Americans need to be prepared for major disruptions with schools closed, businesses shut down, and potentially areas quarantined.  From its huge drop over the last two days - roughly 1900 points - the stock market is believing the medical experts and not the liar-in-chief in the White House.  Just as disturbing is the reality that the Trump/Pence regime has been cutting funding to the CDC and eliminating health officials who speak the truth based on scientific fact and knowledge during the regime's misrule.  A piece in the New York Times looks at what medical experts are saying in contrast to the lies of the Trump/Pence regime.  Here are article excerpts:
Federal health officials starkly warned on Tuesday that the new coronavirus will almost certainly spread in the United States, and that hospitals, businesses and schools should begin making preparations.
“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news briefing.
She said that cities and towns should plan for “social distancing measures,” like dividing school classes into smaller groups of students or closing schools altogether. Meetings and conferences may have to be canceled, she said. Businesses should arrange for employees to work from home.
“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad,” Dr. Messonnier said.
Shortly after the news conference, stock markets plummeted for the second day as investors dumped stocks and turned to the safety of government bonds. The S&P 500 fell by more than 3 percent, following a 3.4 percent slide on Monday — the worst day for the American markets since February 2018.
In contrast to his own health officials, President Trump, traveling in India, played down the threat, saying, “You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country.”
[G]iven the outbreaks in more than two dozen countries, officials at the C.D.C. seemed convinced that the virus’s spread in the United States was inevitable, although they did not know whether the impact would be mild or severe.
“We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus,” Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, told a Senate panel on Tuesday. “And we need to be realistic about that.”
Globally, public health officials are confronting a multipronged threat. China’s battle to contain the epidemic has shown signs of success, with a plunge in the rate of new infections.
But this has been overshadowed by new clusters of infections in Iran, South Korea and Italy. The emergence of these new hubs underscored the lack of a coordinated global strategy to combat the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 80,000 people in 37 countries, causing at least 2,600 deaths.
In Iran, a spike in coronavirus infections — including to the top health official in charge of fighting the disease — has prompted fears the contagion may spread throughout the Middle East. In Italy, one of Europe’s largest economies, officials are struggling to prevent the epidemic from paralyzing the commercial center of Milan.
[L]awmakers from both the Democratic and the Republican parties grilled Mr. Azar and other members of the administration at the Senate hearing, apparently unconvinced that the Trump administration was prepared for the outbreak that the C.D.C. is forecasting.
Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, grew exasperated when the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad F. Wolf, could not say how many people were expected to become infected.
Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, asked the health secretary whether he thought the United States currently had enough health masks in stock.
Hospital officials were assuming the efforts to contain the virus would delay, not prevent, a pandemic — sustained transmission of the coronavirus on more than one continent.
“We are really staging it, from a minor issue of small numbers of patients, to a full-blown community spread,” said Dr. Mark Jarrett, the chief quality officer at Northwell Health, which operates 23 hospitals on Long Island and elsewhere in New York.
Hospital administrators nationwide anticipate a wave of patients that could strain their intensive care units and isolation rooms. Many are starting to conserve medical supplies, including specialized masks and ventilators.
W.H.O. officials have also warned that the world is unprepared for a leap in infections, which could overwhelm medical resources in many countries. They also cautioned that new cases could suddenly resurge in China, as the government struggles to get people back to work.
And there are persistent doubts about the accuracy of infection figures reported by the Chinese government, raising the possibility that the true magnitude of the outbreak remains under reported.   

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