CDC Director warns U.S. is likely to see increase in cases of novel coronavirus
The novel coronavirus has killed more than 1,300 people in China and now officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are taking extensive measures to prevent a similar outbreak in the United States.
CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield spoke with CNN regarding the spread of coronavirus, saying, "Right now, we're in aggressive containment mode. We don't know a lot about this virus."
Dr. Redfield said the CDC is focused on surveillance and containment. By 'surveillance,' Dr. Redfield means researchers are carefully tracking and analyzing coronavirus cases.
And, his reference to 'containment' involves the implementation of strategies that involve isolating contaminated patients and using every precautionary means available to separate uninfected communities from those who have the virus.
Experts believe this continued focus on surveillance and containment would slow the possible progression of the virus in the United States, and slowing the progression will allow researchers more time to work on developing/testing a vaccine and antiviral drugs that would effectively fight novel coronavirus.
But effective drugs and vaccines have yet to be discovered. At this time, there is no known cure for novel coronavirus, and the head of the CDC expects that more people in the U.S. will become infected.
"This virus is probably with us beyond this season," Dr. Redfield told CNN. "Beyond this year. And I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission."
The Trump administration appears to have taken warnings like Dr. Redfield's into consideration, as it has enhanced travel restrictions.
One such restriction blocks foreign nationals from entering the United States if they've visited China in the 14 days prior to their arrival to the U.S.
Restrictions also apply to American citizens who've visited China's Hubei province, which was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, in the two weeks prior to their return to the U.S. After returning stateside, those citizens would undergo a mandatory quarantine of up to 14 days.
While some Americans have criticized these precautions as overzealous, officials say they'd rather be safe than sorry.
In this regard, Dr. Redfield said, "I would rather be criticized for over-protecting America than under-protecting America at this stage."
At this time, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are more than 47,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus across the globe, and the vast majority of these are in mainland China.