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CDC warns Americans coronavirus spread is not a matter of if, but when

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday it expects coronavirus to spread in the United States and asked Americans to prepare.

“Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters.

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” she said.

“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare in the expectation that this could be bad,” she said. “I continue to hope that in the end we’ll look back and feel like we are overprepared, but that is a better place to be in than being underprepared.”

Messonnier spoke as the number of coronavirus cases grew worldwide. Italy reported a 45% single-day increase in infections. Italian officials reported 10 deaths and 322 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, South Korea was racing to contain the largest outbreak of the virus outside China, which is home to the majority of cases. The nearly 1,000 cases and 10 confirmed deaths from the illness in South Korea pushed the global tally of patients over 80,000 and the death toll closer to 3,000.

Iran has also reported more deaths from the disease, amid fears the Islamic clerics who run the country could be under-reporting cases there.

The World Health Organization has called it a global health emergency but has declined to use the label “pandemic,” a term used when a disease takes hold in multiple regions and spreads rampantly within communities. But the dramatic spread in South Korea, Iran and Italy has stoked fears that COVID-19 could reach pandemic status.

The Trump administration has sought billions of dollars in additional funding from Congress to buy protective gear and work on treatments and a vaccine for the new virus. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lambasted the funding plan as “long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency.”

Southwest Florida schools monitoring

The School District of Lee County spokesman Rob Spicker said in a statement:

“Our Health Services department has been in close communication with our local health department as well as in communication with the School Health Liaison at the State level in Tallahassee.

“We are monitoring the absence totals at each school and receiving updates on any new information or advice from the local, state and federal health departments as well as the CDC. We do have a process document in place to address the Coronavirus and our school clinics are monitoring daily visits to the clinics and the signs and symptoms most commonly seen.

“At this time we have not seen a dramatic increase in related signs and symptoms associated with the Coronavirus. We will continue to monitor our school clinics and keep communication frequent with our local and state health departments.”

Coronavirus spread in U.S. is inevitable, CDC says

A spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States is inevitable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

“Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters Tuesday.

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” she said.

Messonnier said “our containment strategies have been largely successful” so far. “As a result, we have very few cases in the United States and no spread in the community,” she said.

“But as more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” she added.

There are 14 confirmed cases in the U.S., not including 39 passengers of a cruise ship in Japan who tested positive and were brought back to the U.S. under the watch of federal health officials.

“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare in the expectation that this could be bad,” Messonnier said. “I continue to hope that in the end we’ll look back and feel like we are overprepared, but that is a better place to be in than being underprepared.”

How could this affect Florida’s economy?

The Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist, Dr. Jerry Parrish, says Florida should be “concerned, but not panicked.”

“Yesterday the Dow dropped by more than 1,000 points, companies are cutting their GDP forecasts, 30-year mortgages are at an eight-year low, manufacturers are idling their factories because of supply chain issues. All of this is having an effect on Florida’s economy, and it could continue. This is certainly a concern, but it’s not anything to panic about,” Dr. Parrish explained in his latest Florida By The Numbers report.

Parrish says Florida’s most vulnerable industries include:

  • International visitors
  • Cruise passengers
  • Imports/exports
  • Manufacturing jobs

In addition, Parrish said the 10-year government bond and the three-month T-bill are now showing an inversion.

“An inversion of the yield curve has been a reliable, but not perfect signal, of a future recession. This is one of the metrics that goes into the calculation of the probability of a Florida recession which is on TheFloridaScorecard.org,” Dr. Parrish explained. “The probability of Florida being in a recession over the next nine months has now increased to 24.1 percent.”

Author: AUDREY MCNAMARA, CBS News/WINK News
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