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Why Does the U.S. Have So Few Confirmed Coronavirus Cases?

Scott Gottlieb, M.D.
 

By Scott Gottlieb, MD ( original source The Wall Street Journal)

“A mere 15 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus have been diagnosed in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that number hasn’t budged in a week. But the true number of cases is unknown, because the U.S. is testing only those who recently arrived from China or have been in close contact with confirmed patients. Public-health authorities need to be prepared for a wider outbreak.

The CDC says it will set up a pilot program in five states to screen some patients with unexplained lung infections. But that program hasn’t started, so we can only hope that cases didn’t get into the U.S. undetected and begin spreading. It’s important not to overstate the danger: If thousands of people were infected in, say, New York, more patients would be showing up at hospitals with serious lung infections. The outbreak would be obvious. But since most people with the virus suffer only a mild illness, dozens and perhaps even hundreds of cases may be circulating undetected. Here are five steps public-health authorities should take to get ready:”

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