The alarming coronavirus has made citizens in many parts of the world worry about their lives. The virus has also made the Trump administration expand screening for the virus from 5 to 20 U.S. airports. U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar described the virus that originated in Wuhan, China as a “potentially very serious public health threat.” “The first five airports were the airports where most of the flights directly from Wuhan to the United States came into,” Azar said.
HuffPost reported that the 15 additional screening sites known as quarantine stations “will allow health officials to better monitor for illness among passengers traveling from China or anywhere else in the world.” Azar said they are “always on the lookout for anyone coming into the country who’s presenting signs or symptoms of disease.”
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“We are constantly preparing for the possibility that the situation could worsen,” Azar said during a press briefing. The virus has killed 106 people in mainland China and has infected nearly 4,700 people worldwide. “Americans should not worry about their own safety,” Azar said. “Part of the risk we face is we don’t know everything we need to know about this virus … That does not prevent us from preparing and responding.”
According to Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield, “to better protect the health of the American public during the emergence of this novel coronavirus and based on the evolving information from China, CDC has reassessed its entry strategy.” The screenings will revolve around identifying ill patients and educating travelers.
The real speed and spread of the disease are still being determined by U.S. health officials. They are also investigating whether the virus can infect people prior to symptoms.
Companies like Walt Disney (with Shanghai Disney) are suspending operations in China despite the Lunar New Year holiday. Establishments like Starbucks and McDonald’s also closed stores in Hubei in Wuhan.
The World Health Organization explains that more data still needs to be collected before the virus is declared a global health emergency.