US Officials Warn to Prepare for Community Spread of Novel Coronavirus

(Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Americans must prepare to deal with the imminent community spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), warns Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. She feels that the risk of coronavirus rapidly spreading in the U.S. is increasing given that several cases of infection are popping up in countries like Iran and Italy.

The warning

“As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder… It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses,” Messonier said, as reported by Independent. In a phone call with journalists, she recounted how she explained the situation to her kids during breakfast.

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Since no vaccine has been developed, health officials are focusing on three types of interventions — personal, community, and environmental. Personal intervention includes keeping oneself clean at all times. Community interventions involve changing face-to-face business meetings to Internet conferencing, closing down schools, and experimenting with online classes. Environmental interventions are mostly focused on cleaning surfaces.

Maintaining the hygiene of these three aspects of a society will go a long way in offering some protection from COVID-19. It is up to local communities to decide how and which interventions to enforce in their regions.

Messonier pointed out that everyday life will be disrupted severely as the virus spreads. Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, believes that Messonier gave the public a glimpse of what could happen in the near future.

(Image: Screenshot / YouTube)
Everyday life will be disrupted severely as the virus spreads. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

“We hope those steps aren’t necessary. We hope that we don’t face those kinds of eventualities… But transparency is being candid with people about what the continuum of potential steps are so they can start processing in their own heads, thinking about in their own lives, thinking about what that might involve — might involve, not will, we cannot make predictions with any degree of certainty,” Azar said (The Epoch Times).

Meanwhile, the CDC has confirmed the first potential “community spread” of coronavirus in the U.S. A resident from California was identified by clinicians at the public health system as being infected. The surprising thing is that the patient was neither exposed to another patient with the virus nor had traveled to infected nations. As such, the CDC is apparently quite perplexed as to circumstances.

Staying safe

Most household cleaners are known to be able to kill other types of coronaviruses. As such, it is recommended that you use items like alcohol or bleach wipes to clean surfaces. If these are not available, even soap and water should be enough. The coronavirus has a lipid covering that protects the RNA inside the microbe. Soaps break down the lipid, which exterminates the virus.

(Image: Screenshot / YouTube)
It is recommended that you use items like alcohol or bleach wipes to clean surfaces. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Various studies have shown that “good hand-washing and frequent hand-washing will decrease the risk of transmission of these viruses anywhere from 30 to 50 percent… You can use the alcohol-based hand gels, or you can use soap and water. It doesn’t need to be any kind of antibacterial soap,” Dr. Trish Perl, chief of the infectious disease division at UT Southwestern Medical Center, said to NPR.

If any of your family members gets infected, make sure that all the surfaces they touch are thoroughly cleaned. You should also wear a mask when dealing with them. Remember to never touch the front of the mask as it can be infected with the virus.

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