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CDC warns of inevitable coronavirus outbreak in U.S.; State experts prepared for worst

Posted at 6:37 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 20:33:22-05

MILWAUKEE — U.S. health officials have a stark warning for Americans on the coronavirus, saying it's inevitable it will spread widely across the country. The CDC announced Tuesday that officials are bracing for a likely outbreak of the novel virus.

According to the World Health Organization, new cases of the coronavirus are slowing down in China, but the numbers are spiking in other countries, and that’s becoming a concern in the U.S.

"Now it's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen," CDC Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said. "We must use this time to continue to prepare for the event of community transmission in the U.S."

There are increasing fears of a future pandemic around the globe, as the virus continues to spread, infecting more than 80,000 people.

Allen Bateman at the State Lab of Hygiene in Madison is on the team that’s investigating possible cases.

“It is concerning and it is a rapidly changing situation,” Bateman said.

He said right now they can't do the testing themselves as test kits provided by the CDC showed inconclusive results. Instead, they have to send specimens to the CDC for testing.

“The fact that we can't test right now means that the results on potential patient testing often is a little bit more delayed,” Bateman said.

Despite the issues with the kits, Bateman wants to be clear, they're prepared for whatever happens.

“We can handle any, a large surge in numbers of cases or numbers of tests that we need to do if needed,” Bateman said.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, only one person tested positive for the virus so far, 15 tested negative, and results for one other is still pending.

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