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A M Reid
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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The number of U.S. COVID-19 cases has drastically grown, with now more than 1,000 people infected and at least 30 deaths. The World Health Organization recently labelled coronavirus a pandemic and declared that the death rate of reported cases is 3.4 percent, a higher mortality rate compared to the seasonal flu, which usually has a death rate under 1 percent.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, attended a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday regarding the coronavirus. In the hearing, Fauci warned that the worst of the outbreak is yet to occur, and there will soon be an influx of new cases. He explained that this is due to containment efforts failing to stop community spread from happening, causing contact tracing to be more difficult.
“Whenever you have an outbreak that you can start seeing community spread, which means by definition that you don’t know what the index case is, and the way you can approach it is by contact tracing, when you have enough of that, then it becomes a situation where you’re not going to be able to effectively and efficiently contain it,” Fauci remarked. “So I can say we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now.”
“How much worse we’ll get will depend on our ability to do two things: to contain the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country. Bottom line, it’s going to get worse.” Fauci added.
In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus in areas where it is rampant, such as Washington State which has around 270 confirmed cases, local and state health officials are closing schools, trying to limit public events, and urging citizens to keep their distance from each other.
Meanwhile, on the other coast, the mayor of the nation’s capital, Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, tweeted Wednesday that the public health department has recommended:
(1/2) DC Health Advisory
DC Health recommends that non-essential mass gatherings, including conferences and conventions, be postponed or cancelled. Mass gatherings are defined as events where 1,000 or more people congregate in a specific location.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) March 11, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also recommended those who are at higher risk, such as the elderly and individuals who have underlying health issues, to stock up on supplies, keep away from crowded areas and only travel if necessary.
During the hearing, Fauci said that commercial entities are now becoming involved and making test kits, and that he is pushing for more surveillance testing to be done.
“[There are] two aspects of testing. One, a person comes in to a physician and asks for a test because they have symptoms or a circumstance which suggests they may be infected. The other way to do testing is to do surveillance where you go out into the community and not wait for someone to come in and ask for a test, but you actively — proactively get a test. We are pushing for that.” Fauci explained, noting. “The CDC has already started that in six sentinel cities and will expand that in many more cities.”
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