Senior CDC official Nancy Messonier said coronavirus is moving closer to meeting the criteria of a pandemic
She says she that it’s not a question of if, but when, spread will occur in the US
Dr Messonier said she called her children’s school and asked if there are plans for tele-schooling if necessary and recommended parents do the same
More than 80,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 2,700 people have died
By MARY KEKATOS SENIOR HEALTH REPORTER
25 February 2020
It’s no longer ‘a question of if…but when’ the coronavirus will spread in the US, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials said on Tuesday as they told parents to prepare their children for the possibility of school closures.
The CDC said Americans may need to prepare for ‘tele-schooling’ should the virus continue to spread throughout the US.
So far, 57 cases have been confirmed – 14 in the nation, 40 from citizens repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan and three evacuated from China.
And although the threat is currently low, Dr Nancy Messonier, CDC’s director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, says the public needs to prepare if the virus becomes a pandemic.
‘It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country any more but a question of when this will happen,’ she told reporters in a media call on Tuesday.
‘We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.’
Dr Messonier is so concerned that she suggested that parents call their children’s schools and ask if there are plans for children to attend class over the Internet or via video chat should the buildings need to close.
In fact, she told reporters she has already called her own children’s school to ask how it would handle closures due to the outbreak.
Dr Messonier said although the threat of coronavirus in the US is currently slim, the infection’s international spread abroad makes containment at the US border and within the nation increasingly difficult.
Therefore, she suggested recommendations that the public could take if the virus reaches pandemic-like levels.
At a community level, this means reducing face-to-face contact in schools and officers and replacing in-person meetings with teleschooling and teleconferencing.
‘I had a conversation with my family over breakfast this morning, and I told my children that – while I didn’t think they were at risk – right now, we as a family, need to be preparing for significant disruption of our lives,’ Dr Messonier said.
Source: BREAKING: ‘This might be bad’: Top CDC official warns it’s ‘not a question of if but when’ coronavirus spreads in the US and tells parents to prepare kids for school closures and ‘significant disruption in our lives’