Experts Warn Of Possible Coronavirus Pandemic

Since its discovery in late 2019, the coronavirus from Wuhan, China, has been rapidly spreading across the world. With thousands of people affected in less than two months, health experts warned that the virus may soon become pandemic. 

In late January, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as a “public health emergency of international concern.” Less than a week after the announcement, scientists have another warning. 

Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, and other health experts believe that the coronavirus outbreak is getting closer to becoming a pandemic. Cases of 2019-nCoV have already traveled beyond China and infected people in 23 countries, Futurism reported Tuesday.

“It’s very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told The New York Times. “But will it be catastrophic? I don’t know.”

Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, agreed that the virus can go widespread worldwide. But he noted the government can still prevent the situation, especially in the U.S. 

“I think it likely will [become a pandemic] at this point. We will have outbreaks here in the United States,” Gottlieb told CNBC. “Now, a small outbreak doesn’t need to become a large outbreak, a large outbreak doesn’t need to become an epidemic here in the United States. There’s things we can do, but we’re going to need to change our posture.”

In China, more than 20,400 people contracted the virus and 425 people died from the infection. The U.S. has also been reporting a growing number of patients, with 11 confirmed cases.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world could be “dangerously” unprepared for a 2019-nCoV pandemic. The organization called on member countries to boost efforts to prepare for widespread infections and to improve monitoring across the globe.

Gottlieb said ongoing efforts in the U.S. focus on preventing further introduction of the coronavirus in other states. Officials and health experts aim to speed up the process to determine infections or outbreaks across communities.

Wuhan Coronavirus Wuhan seafood market closed after the new coronavirus was detected there for the first time on January 1, 2020. SISTEMA 12/Wikimedia Commons