On Tuesday February 25, 2020, Nancy Messonnier, director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease warned in a call with reporters that “[u]ltimately we expect we will see community spread in the United States. It’s not a question of if this will happen, but when this will happen, and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses.” U.S. health officials also stated that health care entities should be ready to increase telehealth systems and delay elective surgeries. In addition, local officials should work to put into place systems such as teleschooling and remote work in case it becomes necessary to reduce face-to-face contact in their community. The CDC has also stated that “current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic.”
As of the afternoon of February 25, 2020, there had been 80,407 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 2,708 confirmed deaths. The first cases of the coronavirus were announced in Switzerland and Austria. There have been 19 cases confirmed in the United States. Cases have now been confirmed in China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, Iran, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia, Germany, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Macau, Kuwait, Spain, Philippines, India, Russia, Oman, Austria, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cambodia, Israel, Belgium, Lebanon, Finland, Sweden, Croatia, Switzerland, Iraq, Egypt, Sri Lanka, and the United States.
On February 24, 2020 the CDC elevated South Korea to Level 1 Travel Warning, which recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the country. Iran, Italy, and Japan remain at Level 2, which advises older adults and those with chronic medical conditions consider postponement of nonessential travel.
The Health Law Pulse will continue to provide updates as more is known about this public health crisis.