According to public health experts, a COVID-19 pandemic is inevitable. For a disease to be considered a pandemic, it has to spread easily from person to person in many parts of the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the only criteria that COVID-19 doesn’t yet meet to be considered a pandemic is worldwide spread.
Most of the COVID-19 cases have been in China, where the disease was first reported. However, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths outside of China continues to grow daily.
The World Health Organization reports that 33 countries have confirmed COVID-19 cases. This dramatic spread has prompted the CDC to issue a dire warning to the American public to expect COVID-19 to spread throughout the country and to take proactive steps to prepare.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family, and it first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, runny nose, cough and breathing trouble. While most people experience mild symptoms, some may develop more severe symptoms, which can be fatal.
On Feb. 25. the CDC asked the American public to work with health officials to prepare for the inevitable countrywide spread of COVID-19. The CDC further stated that, while the current containment strategy has been successful so far, COVID-19 will become increasingly difficult to contain as it spreads to other countries.
“It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.” - Nancy Messonnier, MD, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent is the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid it. As such, the organization has recommended travelers avoid nonessential travel to China and South Korea, and postpone nonessential travel to Iran, Italy and Japan, where there are many confirmed COVID-19 cases. The CDC also recommends avoiding close contact with people who are sick and refraining from touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Frequent hand washing and disinfection of commonly touched surfaces are also advised in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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