‘As the coronavirus spreads, the nation’s leading health official told a Senate committee on Feb. 25 that “we cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus.”
The comments from Alex Azar II, head of Health and Human Services, heightened concerns about the effects of the coronavirus in the U.S., which so far has sickened a relatively small number – 57 – of people in the U.S.
And with hundreds of new cases of the coronavirus reported in South Korea, a spike of deaths in Iran, and a 10-town lockdown in Italy, the rapidly spreading COVID-19 may be on the verge of becoming a pandemic. The World Health Organization now says the disease has “pandemic potential.”
This is only the latest outbreak to show how quickly pathogens can spread in a changing world. The worldwide response is a testament to the immediate need for intervention and containment: flights canceled, cruise ships quarantined, travel banned, and a rigorous monitoring of the Chinese response.’