- ‘Tremendous Public Health Threat’: CDC Confirms 34 Coronavirus Cases in US, Prepares for ‘Very Possible, Even Likely’ Pandemic
The CDC has warned that transmission of the deadly COVID-19 virus in the US is “very possible, even likely” and said its current goal is not to prevent but to slow down its spread and “buy more time” for US communities to prepare.
Added to the 13 already confirmed, the 21 new cases in the US were announced by the CDC on Friday in a media briefing, all of whom returned to the country aboard emergency repatriation flights arranged by the State Department for citizens stranded abroad. Health officials said they expect additional cases to arise from those still in quarantine.
“This new virus represents a tremendous public health threat,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters, adding that it is “very possible” and even “likely” the illness would continue to spread in the US.
“We never expected that we would catch every single traveler with novel coronavirus returning from China, given the nature of this virus and how it’s spreading… That would be simply impossible.”
The new patients are among more than 300 Americans evacuated from a quarantined cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan, where some 3,700 passengers were stranded for over two weeks in isolation. Ten additional passengers have tested positive in Japan, but will only be added to the official tally after confirmation by the CDC.