COVID-19 Special Coverage
CDC releases Public Health Update on coronavirus warning of potential school closures and other disruption
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CDC releases Public Health Update on coronavirus warning of potential school closures and other disruption

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new Public Health Update on the ongoing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the US. The update warns of potential social consequences of the virus including school and daycare closures.

The first significant number of cases of coronavirus were seen in Wuhan, China, the capital of Hubei province, in late December 2019. The report states that there are now more than 77,000 cases affecting more than 30 countries with 2,400 deaths worldwide. These include 53 cases that have been identified in the US. The update discusses a number of measures already undertaken by the US and the CDC, including 46,000 airport screenings and chartered flights for 800 US citizens, residents and families from China.

The report does not state any formal restrictions being instituted right now but does warn of potential disruption to everyday life. In particular, the report advises that Americans start preparing for the possibility of school and daycare dismissals and workplace closures and warns that things could escalate to Americans being asked to stay in their homes. The report also notes that major public events may need to be postponed or canceled to reduce further spread. The report suggests that the public start preparing alternate childcare and work scenarios, including telecommuting. The report also recommends getting the flu vaccine so as not to be inadvertently diagnosed with coronavirus, which involves similar symptoms. The report ends by discussing additional work the CDC is currently conducting on the disease such as further research into incubation and transmission as well as efforts to develop a vaccine.

President Donald Trump, currently on a diplomatic trip to India, reportedly stated that he believes the situation to be under control.