AUSTIN, Texas - The CDC reports that it's no longer a matter of if the coronavirus will spread in the US but when. On Tuesday, US health officials gave an update on the virus, reporting while it's contained here in the US, the virus is spreading in other countries.
"We are realistic that we will see more cases and when we see more cases we might have to take community mitigation efforts,” said Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services. "We are taking this very seriously here in the United States. We are doing the most aggressive containment efforts in modern-day history to prevent further spread in the United States."
As for the virus in the US, Health and Human Services said as of Tuesday they have not seen any new cases.
"This disease is contained. We are now two weeks without any additional US base cases, 14 cases on February 11th, 14 cases Tuesday. The only additional cases we have are ones we imported as part of our humanitarian repatriate efforts," said Azar.
While Azar said it's contained here, it's the virus activity in other countries which has the HHS wanting Americans to be alert. Right now, the virus has infected more than 80,000 people and killed 2,700.
"We've been watching the situation closely in china and then of course of the recent emergence of community spread in Italy, Iran, and in South Korea have raised questions with people in what might happen here," said Dr. Anne Schuchat the CDC principal deputy director.
Right now the HHS is seeking $2.5 billion this year from congress in their efforts related to the virus, with $1 billion going towards a vaccine, which is estimated to take at least a year to make.
"You shouldn't be discouraged by that because this issue of the coronavirus will go beyond this season and into next season so a vaccine may not solve the problem of the next couple of months but it will certainly be an important tool,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
At this time the CDC is urging people to stay informed and practice good hygiene as this will help prevent a potential spread. The FDA said right now there isn't a shortage on medical equipment like masks and gowns but say this can change depending on what the virus does. Part of that budget mentioned earlier goes towards is stocking up on this type of equipment.