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Despite President Donald Trump’s words of encouragement, the national health agency officials disagree. Americans must embrace the fact that the coronavirus is present and will spread within the United States.
On Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, the president held a news briefing where he introduced Vice President Mike Pence as the head of the COVID-19 response team. During his brief, almost unintelligible speech, Trump said the chance of Americans becoming infected is “really low.”
However, the day before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “starkly warned that the new coronavirus will almost certainly spread in the United States and that hospitals, businesses, and schools should begin making preparations,” according to The New York Times.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, spoke during Trump’s briefing. During her address, she warned that the coronavirus is inevitable:
It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.
On Friday, February 28, the CDC reported that 459 people tested positive for the coronavirus; these numbers are published on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays each week. Those infection reports are for individuals tested in Washington, California, Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
All of the cases can be linked to traveling “to a coronavirus-affected area or knowingly come into contact with an infected person.” With the exception of an individual in California who “may have been the first case in the country to contract the virus through exposure in the community,” according to NBC Bay Area News.
After the CDC report was released, two more cases of unknown origin were reported; one Santa Clara County, California, and the other in Washington County, Oregon.
After recent developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised its risk assessment of the coronavirus to very high, according to The Washington Post. Next, is raising the level to a pandemic, which is defined as “epidemics that cross international boundaries and affect a large number of people worldwide.
A pandemic declaration also takes into account who is infected and where.
If a person catches the coronavirus in China and travels back to their home country, they do not count toward the tally that ultimately decides a pandemic declaration—and neither does anyone they infect,” according to National Geographic.
With four cases of unknown origin within the boundaries of the United States, it appears the coronavirus might be evolving into a pandemic.
CBS News reports COVID-19 has spread to over 50 counties. Currently, there are more than 83,000 confirmed cases, and over 2,800 people have died since the virus was first discovered in Wahun, China in December 1999.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Washington Post: Spread of coronavirus in U.S. appears inevitable, health officials warn, as Trump defends response
The Washington Post: California sees second case of unknown origin
CBS News: CDC confirms second U.S. coronavirus case of unknown origin as World Health Organization raises global risk level to “very high”
NBC Bay Area News: Another Coronavirus Case of Unknown Origin Confirmed in Bay Area
The New York Times: C.D.C. Officials Warn of Coronavirus Outbreaks in the U.S.
National Geographic: Here’s how coronavirus could become a pandemic—and why it matters
Featured Image Courtesy of James Walsh’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of CDC’s Media Resources – Used With Permission