U.S., World Prepares for COVID-19 Pandemic

February 25, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported a total of 53 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.—14 confirmed U.S. cases and 39 cases among repatriated persons from high-risk settings. According to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health, the state has two confirmed cases, with both people released from home confinement. In Illinois, there are 68 persons under investigation for the virus and 66 cases testing negative.

In its latest situation report, the World Health Organization (WHO) says there are nearly 77,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases in China, 2,459 outside China in 33 countries, including four new countries—Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, and Oman.

In its latest risk assessment, the CDC says, “The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States. But individual risk is dependent on exposure.

  • For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
  • Under current circumstances, certain people will have an increased risk of infection, for example healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 and other close contacts of persons with COVID-19. CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.

“However, it’s important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. In that case, the risk assessment would be different.”

In preparation, the CDC says it is “operationalizing all of its pandemic preparedness and response plans, working on multiple fronts to meet these goals, including specific measures to prepare communities to respond local transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. There is an abundance of pandemic guidance developed in anticipation of an influenza pandemic that is being repurposed and adapted for a COVID-19 pandemic.”

Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health has begun a randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational antiviral remdesivir, in hospitalized adults diagnosed with COVID-19, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Clinical trials of remdesivir are also ongoing in China.

Additional resources can be found on IHA’s COVID-19 webpage.