The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday warned Americans to prepare “for the worst” about the possibility of “community transmission” of Covid- 2019 in the United States.
“Yes, we are going to see community transmission in the United States (of this new strain of the coronavirus). The question is not if we are going to see it, but when and how many (will be affected), ”said Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases of the CDC, in teleconference on this subject.
Community infection is the transmission from person to person of a disease.RELATED
The doctor warned that, to date, there is no vaccine available to prevent the transmission of this disease, nor specific medicines to treat it.
He warned that the behavior of this new virus in other countries is a matter of great concern, so it is urgent that the population begins to prepare.
Messonnier warned that these measures could include planning on a personal level, as well as in schools and at work. In schools, he said, the possibility of offering classes in small groups, as well as school closure and continuity of classes through the internet, could be considered. In the work, he said, the option of working with flexible schedules from homes and of making teleconferences could also be considered. Meanwhile, he also urged that the method of evaluation of patients or “triage” be changed through telemedicine services. He also suggested the delay of elective surgeries and emphasized that sick people with respiratory conditions and their close contacts remain in their homes to avoid infecting others.
The expert stressed that these measures could cause disruption of school and work routine, as well as loss of productivity and income, but stressed the importance of being considered to try to control the mass transmission of this disease.
On the other hand, he commented that this virus has similar symptoms to other respiratory conditions currently in circulation, which can make its diagnosis difficult. He informed that the CDC is still working on improving Covid-2019 diagnostic tests so that its results are more accurate. He added that they are working on this quickly so that these tests are available in different laboratories in the United States, including both state and commercial laboratories.
A question from the press, Messonnier said it is unknown if the transmission of the virus in the United States will be “mild or more severe”, but warned that it is time for businesses, hospitals, schools and homes to take steps to prepare and make “plans for reply”.
“We have said that, although we hope that this (the scenario of more Covid-2019 cases that continue to emerge in the United States) is not severe, we are preparing as if it were,” he said.
He stressed that the concern is based on how the virus has behaved in other countries.
“We don’t know if community transmission is going to be mild or severe. We don’t know that completely, even when it’s going to happen. That is why we ask everyone to start planning because, from what we have seen in other countries, it moves (the transmission) quite quickly, ”he said.
He added that although previous influenza pandemics have served as practice exercises for cases like the one they currently face with Covid-2019, this is a completely new scenario.
“We will never be completely prepared. There are always going to be diseases that will surprise us, ”he said, adding that this is why the general exhortation is“ be prepared because it can be bad ”.
To date, he said in the United States there are 57 confirmed cases of Covid-2019. Of those, 12 were in people who had recently traveled to places with transmission of the new disease, while two others were close contacts of these infected people. The other 43 cases, he said, were in three people who had been repatriated from Hubei, China and another 40 repatriated from the “Diamond Princess” cruise ship.
Meanwhile, the CDC official said that pandemics often cause problems in the supply of certain items that are necessary for the protection of health workers. He stressed that this sector of professionals should always be “priority” in the use of protective items to avoid contagion.
Messonnier indicated that, within the uncertainty that prevails on how the general transmission of this virus will behave in the United States, there is a hypothesis that it is a “seasonal” disease like other respiratory diseases, where there is usually a decrease in cases during the summer.
“But we will not know that (for sure) until time runs. Meanwhile, we are thinking of (preparing for) a community transmission, ”he concluded.