It’s “entirely too soon” to speak about the Wuhan coronavirus from China in terms of a pandemic, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday, while acknowledging that there are “several cases of individuals” in the United States who have symptoms consistent with the disease.
“Rest assured, President (Donald) Trump and I will take all steps appropriate to protect the American people,” Azar told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “We use a multilayered approach to protect America, involving entry screening. We work in collaboration with China as they engage in travel restrictions and exit screening.”
Most importantly, the “superb” public health system in the United States has been activated to “identify individuals that may have suspect symptoms to diagnose them and to treat them, isolate them, and to check their contacts.”
Earlier this week, Trump said in an interview that the coronavirus situation is “totally under control,” but what he meant is dealing with such things is what the United States does.
“America has the most advanced public health system in the world,” said Azar. “We have the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health…the case we have seen and suspect cases have been identified through the proactive measures we have taken to activate our public.”
The key, he said, is to identify people who have potential symptoms, diagnose them, and isolate them to ensure any of their contacts are not also infected.
On Friday, a 60-year-old Chicago woman became the second U.S. patient to be diagnosed with the pneumonia-like virus, according to health experts. She returned from China on Jan. 13 without showing signs of illness, but called her doctor a few days later.
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