New York and California are reportedly monitoring over 9,000 people for the coronavirus that originated in China as the United States prepares for a potential outbreak that officials say could boom over night.
“The Health Department says 700 people in the state have been asked to voluntarily self-isolate for two weeks,” CBS New York reported. “That includes 83 people in Nassau County, 29 in Suffolk County, and eight in Westchester.”
“California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and the state is currently monitoring at least 8,400 others,” CNBC reported, which comes “a day after U.S. health officials confirmed the first possible community transmission of the coronavirus in a Solano County resident.”
Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, an adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of California Los Angeles who previously worked for the CDC, told The Daily Beast that Americans should expect an overnight boom in coronavirus cases across the U.S. but should not panic over it.
“It’s possible to say suddenly we’ll have 20 or 30 cases from one particular place,” Klausner said. “People should expect that, but people should not be overly concerned about that. If we were testing everyone for the common cold, we would find hundreds of thousands of cases.”
“It’s a cold virus, and colds are readily transmissible from person-to-person,” Klausner added. “There can be a rapid increase in the number of people with a cold virus, particularly in winter environments where people are more likely to be in close contact.”
The news comes as the Trump administration is reported considering invoking special powers through the Defense Production Act, which was “passed by Congress in 1950 at the outset of the Korean War, would mark an escalation of the administration’s response to the outbreak. The virus first surfaced in China and has since spread to other countries including the United States,” Reuters reported. “The law grants the president the power to expand industrial production of key materials or products for national security and other reasons.”
“Let’s say ‘Company A’ makes a multitude of respiratory masks but they spend 80% of their assembly lines on masks that painters wear and only 20% on the N95,” a White House official told Reuters on background. “We will have the ability to tell corporations, ‘No, you change your production line so it is now 80% of the N95 masks and 20% of the other.’”
The coronavirus has infected more than 83,078 people and killed 2,855 worldwide, with 78,817 of the infections and well over 2,700 of the deaths happening in China.
China lied to the world about the outbreak; punished journalists and doctors who sounded the alarm on the outbreak; and refused to allowed the CDC into the country to help contain the outbreak and research the coronavirus.
Instead, China has falsely blamed the United States for spreading panic and fear over the outbreak because the U.S. has taken aggressive steps to contain the outbreak.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said earlier this month that U.S. officials know that China is lying about the outbreak of the coronavirus and that it did not originate in a food market, which China had claimed.
Cotton told Fox News, “the situation is very grave, in part because, as you say, China was lying from the beginning, and they’re still lying today, and also because there are so many unknowns about this virus, for example, how many people one person can infect once they have the virus, the extent to which it’s contagious before one is symptomatic, or the mortality rate.”
“This virus didn’t originate in the Wuhan animal market,” Cotton said in January. “Epidemiologists who are widely respected from China who have published a studied in the international journal The Lancet have demonstrated that several of the original cases didn’t have any contact with that food market.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.