In a recent news conference, officials owned up to the fact that the current coronavirus outbreak in China very well poses a "potentially severe public health threat" in the United States.
However, they wanted to add that at present, any possible risk to Americans remains low, reminding that currently there are only five reported cases having been confirmed of what is being referred to as a "novel" virus within the US borders.
Reports of the Chinese refusing any for of help or aid form the US have surfaced. The US made an offer, back on January 6th, to send officials from the CDC to aid the country in its battle in response to the virus’ outbreak. When the offer was made in early January, officials from the US continually urge that China offers more transparency as the virus continues to spread.
Alex Azar, the US Health Secretary, said: "This is a major health issue, and we need the best public healthy people in the world right now to respond."
With that said, Azar was quick to credit the fact that China has been on top of and has responded significantly faster with the coronavirus in comparison to how they responded during the previous deadly outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003.
According to a report published in the New York Times, China was accused of having covered up the SARS outbreak, not alerting the public about the outbreak until an estimated five months after medical experts realized it had begun.
Chinese officials within their government have taken the stance that they have learned from their "past mistakes." Warnings have been sent down to lower-level government officials not to cover up or hold back any information pertaining to the spread and effects of the coronavirus. The virus thought to have originated in a Wuhan animal and fish market but has since become transmittable from human to human.
It would seem that the US health secretary’s comments on maintaining transparency, was quickly followed by the WHO announcing that China was agreeing to now allow experts of an international level into the country “as soon as possible” in an attempt to gain help with the viral outbreak. However, it is still unclear at to if the CDC is being included In that list of international experts.
On Tuesday, the CDC listed its recommendations to travel to China to its highest level of three.
If the Chinese government had allowed the CDC to help, could they possibly gotten ahead of the coronavirus?