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Feb-27-2020 22:01printcomments

The Coronavirus Pandemic is Upon Us and Why Americans Should Worry

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) asked “the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”

Image: MGN

(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - Although the World Health Organization has not declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic a pandemic, an epidemic of world-wide proportions, with no containment in sight.

The virus has spread to at least 49 countries. As of February 26, 2020, there are 80,980 confirmed cases in 39 countries and territories with at least 2,770 deaths.

COVID-19 seems to spread like influenza, through the air, person to person. Unlike Ebola, SARS and MERS individuals can transmit this coronavirus before the onset of symptoms even if they don’t become ill.

The fact that mild cases are difficult to differentiate from colds or the flu only complicates the diagnosis. Vaccines are many months away, at the earliest.

Presently, there are 60 cases of the Coronavirus in the U.S. However, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news briefing that an outbreak in the U.S. is a question of when, not if, and urged hospitals, businesses and schools to prepare.

Laurie Garrett, a former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Pulitzer Prize winning science writer, writes in Foreign Policy that Trump has sabotaged America’s coronavirus response.

Meanwhile, 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.”

And Larry Kudrow, Director of the National Economic Council, said on CNBC, "We have contained this. I won't say airtight, but pretty close to airtight.”

Given Trump’s history of telling falsehoods, I believe the experts, not Trump.

On February 26, Trump named Vice President Mike Pence as his point person on the Coronavirus epidemic. Remember Pence, as governor of Indiana, was criticized for his handling of a major public health crisis during his time as governor.

The worst HIV outbreak in the state’s history happened while he was governor in 2015, which critics blamed on Pence’s belated response and his opposition to authorizing a needle-exchange program on the grounds it would encourage more drug use. This failure aggravated an AIDS outbreak among intravenous drug users in a rural Indiana county.

A Coronavirus pandemic is just around the corner. I fear that the Trump administration is ill-prepared to meet the challenge it poses. He seems to be worried more about how a pandemic would effect his reelection chances — his usual “me, me” approach.



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