The Center of Disease Control abruptly postponed a press briefing on COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, on March 2. Later in the day it was discovered that the CDC removed the number of people being tested from a page on their website with other coronavirus information.
CDC spokesperson Ben Haynes informed reporters that the briefing had been pushed back but did not provide an explanation as to why.
Confusion surrounding the Trump Administration’s handling of what could become a major pandemic in the U.S. has many medical experts concerned. Currently the Administration is treating coronavirus as a political question rather than a medical public policy challenge.
There have been more than 89,000 confirmed cases of covid-19 around the world and over 3,000 deaths. The vast majority of cases have been in China where over 45,000 have been diagnosed. The illness is typically mild, featuring a cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Similar to the flu, people with underlying conditions and those who are elderly are at greatest risk.
A number of states in the U.S. are reporting new cases. On March 3, the government ramped up testing in Washington state after the death of six people. There are now roughly 500 confirmed cases in 18 states in the U.S.
The first confirmed case of the coronavirus in New York City was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 2. The case was a 39-year-old health care worker with mild respiratory symptoms who had recently returned from Iran. In February, eight people from New York City were declared free of the virus after being tested by the Centers for Disease Control.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city had over 1,000 hospital beds available for coronavirus patients. He also announced plans and actions people could take if they suspected they were infected.
On February 25, the National Institutes of Health announced the first clinical trials for a coronavirus cure. “This is the first clinical trial in the United States to evaluate an experimental treatment for covid-19, the respiratory disease first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China,” the NIH website states.
(Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast Burkefile. She is also a political strategist as principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke).