Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday that the coronavirus will definitely begin spreading to communities in the United States, and Americans should begin preparations now.
“It is no longer just a question of whether this will happen anymore, but rather it is a matter of when exactly this will happen,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a new briefing. .
The news has hidden weeks of fear that the spreading Corona virus from China will become a pandemic, disrupting the global economy and political landscape in unpredictable ways.
Iran, South Korea and Italy are now grappling with combinations of infection, even as the epidemic slows in China’s Hubei province.
The emergence of these new hubs underscored the absence of a coordinated global strategy to combat the Corona virus, which has infected nearly 80,000 people in 37 countries, killing at least 2,600 people.
CDC officials said they do not know whether the spread of the disease to the United States will be mild or severe. She added that Americans should be prepared for a major disruption in their daily lives.
“We ask the American public to be prepared to anticipate that this might be bad,” said Dr. Meissner.
In Washington, the Secretary of Health and Human Services told a Senate committee that federal and local health departments would need up to 300 million masks for health care workers and additional hospital ventilation equipment to prepare for the Corona virus outbreak in the United States.
“This is a potentially unprecedented health challenge globally,” Alex M. Azar II, Minister of Health and Human Services, told a subcommittee of the Senate.
But lawmakers on both sides have made clear they are not convinced that the Trump administration was ready for an outbreak. It is a prediction.
As Senator John Kennedy, the Louisiana Republican, pressed to specify the number of people expected to be infected, Chad Wolf, the agency’s Homeland Security chief, could not answer.
Mr. Kennedy replied, “I am everything about committees and task forces, but you are the minister.” “I think you should know this answer.”
Trump administration officials overseeing the response to a potential Corona virus outbreak told lawmakers that the initial amount the White House requested – $ 1.25 billion in new money and $ 1.25 billion obtained from other programs – would be just the first round.
And Mr. Azar said: “We are really learning day to day and week by week from the features of this disease.”
Legislators who heard Mr. Azar’s requests seemed surprised.
Senator Patti Murray, a Washington Democrat, asked the Secretary of Health whether he believed the United States currently had enough health masks in stock.
He answered, “Of course not, otherwise we will not ask for more.”
Mr. Azar said that officials currently have 30 million N95 masks in the country’s emergency stocks, which usually cost less than one dollar.
Mr. Azar said he was concerned about the transmission of the virus from person to person in other parts of the world without specific contact with confirmed cases, and what this could mean for how the virus infected the United States in the coming months.
“We cannot close the United States with a virus,” said Mr. Azar. “And we need to be realistic about it.”
The World Health Organization said the frequency of confirmed new cases in China, which exceeded 2,000 cases a day a month ago, had steadily decreased, to 508 on Monday.
George W. He said that the severe measures imposed by the Chinese authorities to isolate the sick and the worst affected areas probably prevented hundreds of thousands of additional injuries.
But. Officials also warned that the world is not ready for a jump in infection, which may overwhelm medical resources in many countries. They also warned that new cases may suddenly appear in China, as the government is struggling to get people back to work.
There are ongoing doubts about the accuracy of the infection numbers reported by the Chinese government, which increases the possibility of not reporting the true size of the outbreak.
By Tuesday, South Korea reported 893 cases, the second largest in the world, and the Centers for Disease Control in the United States had warned Americans against traveling there.
Of the 60 new cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in South Korea, 49 have emerged Daegu, the city at the heart of that country’s fascism.
In Iran, the rise in the number of coronavirus infections – including the senior health official responsible for fighting the disease – has raised fears of infection throughout the Middle East.
In Italy, one of the largest economies in Europe, officials are fighting to prevent the epidemic from paralyzing Milan’s commercial center. In New York, London and Tokyo, financial markets fell on Monday, amid fears that the virus would paralyze the global economy.
Dr. Mesoner said she sat with her children and told them, “We as a family need to prepare for a major disruption in our lives.”
She said Americans should “ask their schools about separation plans” and conduct classes on the Internet if the spread of the disease becomes dangerous.
“I called my local school superintendent this morning with these exact questions.”
Rick Gladstone contributed reporting from New York.