Harvard Epidemiologist Predicts Most of the World Will Be Infected by Next Year; U.S. Soldier Stationed in South Korea Tests Positive for Coronavirus; Senator ‘Appalled’ by Trump’s Classified Briefing on Coronavirus

CDC Warns Disruption to U.S. Life “May be Severe”

By Alexandria Hein. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday warned that it expects the novel coronavirus to begin spreading in the U.S. at the community level, and that “disruption to everyday life may be severe.”

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the agency’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the time for Americans to begin preparing for a potential outbreak of the virus is now . . . “As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” Messonnier said. “Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”

Citing the recent uptick in cases in countries with confirmed illnesses, Messonnier said health officials recognize that once the virus hits, it moves “quite rapidly,” adding that the outbreak is inching closer toward pandemic status. She explained several measures the U.S. is prepared to take should the outbreak become severe, including closing schools and hosting meetings remotely.

“I understand this whole situation may seem overwhelming and that disruption to everyday life may be severe, but these are things people need to start thinking about now,” Messonnier said. (Read more HERE)

US Soldier Tests Positive

By The Blaze. An American soldier stationed in South Korea has tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus, the U.S. military announced Wednesday, in what is the first confirmed case of a servicemember contracting the new disease. . .

The patient is a 23-year-old male stationed at Camp Carroll near the southeastern city of Daegu. According to a statement issued by United States Forces Korea, the soldier “is currently in self quarantine at his off-base residence.”

The command said that “health professionals are actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether any others may have been exposed,” adding, “USFK is implementing all appropriate control measures to help control the spread of COVID-19 and remains at risk level ‘high’ for USFK peninsula-wide as a prudent measure to protect the force.”

The Daily Mail reported that South Korea announced the same day that the country has 1,146 cases of COVID-19, which means it has “the biggest outbreak outside mainland China.” China has reported more than 2,700 deaths due to coronavirus with another 78,000 confirmed cases of infection.

The U.S. currently has around 28,5000 troops stationed in South Korea, as a deterrent against North Korean aggression. (Read more from “U.S. Soldier Stationed in South Korea Tests Positive for Coronavirus” HERE)


Yes, You’ll Likely Get It – Harvard Epidemiologist Predicts Most of the World Will Be Infected by Next Year

By The Atlantic. . .Coronaviruses are similar to influenza viruses in that they both contain single strands of RNA.* Four coronaviruses commonly infect humans, causing colds. These are believed to have evolved in humans to maximize their own spread—which means sickening, but not killing, people. By contrast, the two prior novel coronavirus outbreaks—SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome, named for where the first outbreak occurred)—were picked up from animals, as was H5N1. These diseases were highly fatal to humans. If there were mild or asymptomatic cases, they were extremely few. Had there been more of them, the disease would have spread widely. Ultimately, SARS and MERS each killed fewer than 1,000 people. . .

The Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch is exacting in his diction, even for an epidemiologist. Twice in our conversation he started to say something, then paused and said, “Actually, let me start again.” So it’s striking when one of the points he wanted to get exactly right was this: “I think the likely outcome is that it will ultimately not be containable.”

Containment is the first step in responding to any outbreak. In the case of COVID-19, the possibility (however implausible) of preventing a pandemic seemed to play out in a matter of days. Starting in January, China began cordoning off progressively larger areas, radiating outward from the city of Wuhan and eventually encapsulating some 100 million people. People were barred from leaving home, and lectured by drones if they were caught outside. Nonetheless, the virus has now been found in 24 countries.

Despite the apparent ineffectiveness of such measures—relative to their inordinate social and economic cost, at least—the crackdown continues to escalate. Under political pressure to “stop” the virus, last Thursday the Chinese government announced that officials in Hubei province would be going door-to-door, testing people for fevers and looking for signs of illness, then sending all potential cases to quarantine camps. But even with the ideal containment, the virus’s spread may have been inevitable. Testing people who are already extremely sick is an imperfect strategy if people can spread the virus without even feeling bad enough to stay home from work.

Lipsitch predicts that within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. But, he clarifies emphatically, this does not mean that all will have severe illnesses. “It’s likely that many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic,” he said. As with influenza, which is often life-threatening to people with chronic health conditions and of older age, most cases pass without medical care. (Overall, about 14 percent of people with influenza have no symptoms.) (Read more from “Yes, You’ll Likely Get It – Harvard Epidemiologist Predicts Most of the World Will Be Infected by Next Year” HERE)


Democrat ‘Appalled’ by Classified Senate Briefing on Coronavirus: ‘Should Have Been Fully Open to American People’

By Raw Story.Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) blasted the Trump administration for withholding information about coronavirus preparations from the public.

The administration gave senators a classified briefing Tuesday morning on the virus, which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) warned Monday could turn into a potential pandemic unless President Donald Trump and his team took swift action.

(Read more from “Democrat ‘Appalled’ by Classified Senate Briefing on Coronavirus: ‘Should Have Been Fully Open to American People’” HERE)

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