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CDC preparing for long-term Coronavirus effects on the U.S.

There are 34 confirmed cases in the U.S.
Posted at 6:33 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 19:40:30-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Federal health officials are now saying the coronavirus could possibly become a pandemic and affect American communities if the spread continues.

There are now 34 confirmed cases in the United States but already more than 75,000 in Mainland China.

The Centers for Disease Control and other government agencies are taking aggressive precautions to stop the spread. However, if the virus begins spreading person to person in our communities, the United States may have to take extra precautions.

"You may be hearing about schools shutting down, businesses closing in countries in Asia to reduce the potential spread of this virus. The day may come when we need to implement such measures in the U.S. communities,"
said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

On Thursday, 11 people tested positive at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine's quarantine and bio-containment units after departing from the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan. They are expected to recover, but may require a longer stay than the typical two-week quarantine period.

"They would clearly have to demonstrate clinical improvement. Then they would have to have at least two negative tests spaced in time, so at least a day apart, before we would consider them free of the virus, no longer shedding and not being contagious," Chief of Infectious Diseases Division at Nebrasaka Medicine, Dr. Mark Rupp said.

The good news is that the number of cases in the U.S. is still low and all current cases are being monitored and treated. The numbers may even go down as flu and cold season wraps up.