Dark dark dark… NIAID Director on #COVID19: “I don't think that we are going to get out of this completely unscathed… I think that this is going to be one of those things we look back on and say boy, that was bad.” Holy crap I didn’t want to hear that. t.co/YrkTDyirHD
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) March 3, 2020
- WHO will likely deem the COVID-19 coronavirus a global pandemic once sustained person-to-person spread takes hold outside China, a CDC official says.
- The outbreak already meets two criteria for a pandemic, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said in prepared remarks.
The World Health Organization will likely deem the coronavirus a global pandemic once sustained person-to-person spread takes hold outside China, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official told Congress on Tuesday.
The outbreak already meets two of the three main criteria under the technical designation of a pandemic, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said in prepared remarks to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
“It is a new virus, and it is capable of person-to-person spread,” she said. “If sustained person-to-person spread in the community takes hold outside China, this will increase the likelihood that the WHO will deem it a global pandemic.”
On Monday, WHO officials said the number of new COVID-19 cases outside China was almost nine times higher than that inside the country in the previous 24 hours.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said health officials would not “hesitate” to declare the outbreak a pandemic if “that’s what the evidence suggests.” On Friday, he said the WHO hadn’t declared a pandemic in part because most cases of COVID-19 were still traced to known contacts or clusters of cases, and there wasn’t any “evidence as yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities.”
The ex-director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the deadly coronavirus may be “impossible” to contain — and that kids may be secret carriers of the disease.
“We think it will be very difficult if not impossible to contain it … but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try,” Dr. Tom Frieden told reporters.
Frieden pointed to evidence that people with mild or no symptoms, including children, may be secret carriers of the virus.
He cited a report of a 10-year-old boy who visited the outbreak’s epicenter in China and didn’t show any symptoms of the virus. But when the boy’s parents insisted doctors test him, he was diagnosed with the virus, according to the Lancet medical journal.
“The fact that children may get infected but not show symptoms poses a risk to pediatricians,” Frieden said.