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CDC: US Must Expect 'Significant Disruption' From Coronavirus

a world map showing coronavirus infections and warnings

By    |   Tuesday, 25 February 2020 06:40 PM

The CDC's director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease on Tuesday warned of an imminent coronavirus pandemic and said parents need to prepare for school closures and "significant disruption" in their lives.

Dr. Nancy Messonier also said schools should consider dividing students into smaller groups.

"It's not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country any more, but a question of when this will happen," Messonier told reporters in a conference call.

"For adults, businesses can replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options," Messonnier said.

Local communities and cities may need to "modify, postpone, or cancel mass gatherings" and hospitals might need to add more telehealth services and delay elective surgery, she added.

"Now is the time for businesses, hospitals, communities, schools, and everyday people to begin preparing.

"We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."

More than 80,000 people have been infected worldwide with the coronavirus, which started in Wuhan, China. More than 2,700 people have died.

In the U.S., 57 cases have been confirmed in addition to 39 cases among repatriated persons from high-risk settings.

Messonier in the call suggested parents contact their children's schools about teleschooling and teleconferencing.

"I had a conversation with my family over breakfast this morning, and I told my children that – while I didn't think they were at risk – right now, we as a family, need to be preparing for significant disruption of our lives," Messonier said.  

"[Parents should] ask schools, are there plans for teleschool? You should think what you would do for daycare if schools close?" Messonier said.

The CDC is also encouraging sick people to stay home, and urging employers to ensure that sick leave policies re flexible and consistent with public health guidance and maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. 

Flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting), flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), routine cleanings are also suggested. 

President Donald Trump earlier Tuesday spoke about the coronavirus at a news conference in India, saying it is "very well under control in our country."

"I think that whole situation will start working out. Lot of talent, a lot of brainpower is being put behind it," Trump said.

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U.S. parents need to prepare for school closures and "significant disruption" in their lives, according to the CDC.
cdc, schools, pandemic, outbreak, epidemic, pathogens
Tuesday, 25 February 2020 06:40 PM
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