National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Dr. Anthony Fauci denied Tuesday that it was a mistake when Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked off Japan's coast were not told before boarding their planes that some among them had tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.
"Things were moving very quickly," Fauci told Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "When the individuals were boarded on the bus to go onto the plane, it was at that point that their tests came back positive. They really didn't know about that until they were getting ready to go on the plane."
Meanwhile, the risk is "relatively low" of the new strain of coronavirus spreading in the United States, said Fauci, but that risk can change.
"We're telling our American citizens to not be fearful, to not be afraid, but to keep an eye on it," said Fauci. "We in the public health arena are taking this very, very seriously."
Americans who have been infected have been isolated, said Fauci, and their contacts have been traced.
"It's possible some people have slipped into the country under the radar screen," said Fauci. "For that reason, the CDC is doing some sentinel surveillance in five cities, taking a look at people who present with flu-like symptoms but are negative for the flu, to see if they might, in fact, be positive for the coronavirus."
Fauci also said there's no reason for people to walk around with face masks, but they should wash their hands frequently, just as they would for the flu, and to avoid crowded places where people are coughing and sneezing. There is no reason to worry about the coronavirus being carried on items that were made in China, he added.
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