LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The World Health Organization says nearly 1400 people have died from the coronavirus, mostly in China where the virus originated from. So far, the CDC has tested more than 400 cases from airport screenings across the US and local health departments and 15 people have tested positive for the disease.
In an exclusive look at how the CDC is managing the response to the disease, Nexstar’s Archith Seshadri, went inside the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center where medical response teams are tracking trends and monitoring the coronavirus.
“We’ve learned everything we know since January because as we entered it into 2020, we are talking about a brand new disease of unknown ideology,” said Jay Butler, Deputy Director of Infectious Diseases CDC.
Common signs of infectious disease include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It can also lead to kidney failure, pneumonia, and death.
“We know the coronavirus is spread through the respiratory droplets,” added Butler.
The CDC says around 600 people are in quarantine across the US, most of them are state employees who recently returned from China.
“The cases in the United States have mostly been in travelers who are returning from Hubei province in Central China. There have been two instances of transmission in the US that have been household contacts from people who returned from Wuhan and developed symptoms,” said Jay Butler, Deputy Director, Infectious Diseases CDC.
The CDC has deployed around 800 employees across the US at airports and federal quarantine stations to manage the outbreak of the coronavirus. Inside the emergency operations center, they’re not just tracking the coronavirus, they are also managing the ebola and polio.
The biggest concern for American health officials now is to prevent the virus from spreading here.
“There’s a lot of activity going on – it’s settling into a rhythm and there’s still a lot of urgency about different aspects of the response and that will be going on for some weeks yet,” said Edward Rouse, Senior Advisor, Emergency Operations, CDC.
“We don’t know the potential of this virus and what it can do. We want to be aggressive, lean forward and stay ahead of this epidemic,” added Butler.
The CDC has issued a travel advisory for Americans not to go to China – unless it is essential.
The CDC says 42 of the 50 states now have at least one person under investigation for the coronavirus, but none of the states in the south fall under that category.
Currently, there are 11 airports across the US that screen passengers for the coronavirus including Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International.