February 27, 2020
Today, President Trump held a press conference on the coronavirus alongside Vice President Mike Pence, representatives of the (CDC) Center for Disease Control, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. The president began by stating that “the number one priority from our standpoint is the health and safety of the American people.” He also highlighted that out of the 15 people diagnosed in the United States, “8 of them have returned to their homes, 1 is in the hospital, and 5 have fully recovered, and 1 is, we think, in pretty good shape.”
In the midst of this week’s stock market slide, widely considered to be the result of the global coronavirus pandemic, Trump expressed that he thought the slide was a result of the Democratic debate instead of the virus. He stated “I think the financial markets are very upset when they look at the Democrat candidates standing on that stage, making fools out of themselves, and they say, ‘If we ever have a president like this…When they look at the statements made by the people standing behind those podiums, I think that has a huge effect.”
Dr. Tony Fauci, Director of the NIAID said it would be at least a year before a coronavirus vaccine would be available, and that a vaccine currently in development for the virus will be tested on “20-25 healthy volunteers in April” to determine its effectiveness.
The President reassured the American people that “we’re very very ready for this, for anything” and that “we’re going to be, pretty soon, at 5 people” if the current trend continues. Secretary Alex Azar stated that although the disease is currently being managed, “the degree of risk has the potential to change quickly.” The CDC states that as of February 23, 2020, there were 76,936 reported cases in mainland China and 1,875 cases in locations outside mainland China. There have also been 2,462 associated deaths worldwide, including 53 cases in the United States. So far, every death (6 deaths) from the coronavirus in the United States has been in Washington state.
The CDC also reports that the identified illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. Common symptoms are below and may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
- Shortness of breath
CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat asserted “we do expect more cases” of the virus, and that the virus is “spread in similar ways to the cold and influenza, through coughs and sneezes.” Schuchat recommends that everyone covers their cough, stays home when they are sick, and washes their hands. She says these are all “tried and true, not very exciting measures, but very important.”
The CDC’s website also recommends everyday preventive actions to help curve the spread of respiratory diseases, as well as indicating how it spreads. These measures include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Other experts have added the following suggestions:
- Cleaning your cell phone
- Cleaning your television remote control
For combating flu-like symptoms, some experts have these recommendations:
- Adding raw garlic to your daily diet
- Drinking teas with lemon, mint and honey mixtures
Beyond the precautions of one’s own health, the CDC also recommended that people prepare for an outbreak of the coronavirus within their community. Everyone should stock up on food, water, medication, cleaning supplies, and toiletries. “The reason to stock up on certain products now isn’t so much to avoid potential shortages,” NPR reports, but to “avoid crowds to minimize your risk of catching the disease.”