A top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official said it is preparing for the new coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, to take “a foothold” inside the United States.
“At some point, we are likely to see community spread in the U.S. or in other countries,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the head of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters during a conference call. “This will trigger a change in our response strategy.”
The CDC, she added, is taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and prepare for a domestic outbreak, noting that while most of the cases of the virus are in mainland China, there will come a time when it begins to spread more in the United States.
“The goal of the measures we have taken to date are to slow the introduction and impact of this disease in the United States, but at some point we are likely to see community spread in the U.S. or other countries and this will trigger a change in our response strategy,” the official said.
If and when it spreads more in the United States, all levels of the government and different federal agencies should work in tandem to curb the threat, according to Messonnier. Officials need to ensure there are enough medical supplies, including face masks, to prevent the spread, she continued.
But as of now, Messonnier said the CDC doesn’t recommend the general public to use masks as COVID-19 “is not spreading in the community.”