As more U.S. citizens return from abroad after being exposed to COVID-19 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitoring hundreds of potential patients for up to 14 days, hospitals across the country are being encouraged to prepare for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) announcement of a global pandemic.
Speaking with CNBC, Dr. Anne Schuchat, a CDC official, recommends that hospitals “open up your pandemic plans and see that things are in order.”
This echoes reports of the U.S. military planning for the same threat of a global pandemic, with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps issuing plans to follow the Department of Defense’s Global Campaign blueprint for Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Diseases 3551-13, which is the Pentagon’s standards framework for fighting virus outbreaks, The Hill previously reported.
Schuchat continued to say that health care providers should start planning for crowded hospitals by stocking personal protective equipment, like face masks and gloves, for staff treating patients, and other “administrative controls.”
Currently, there are approximately 75,778 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the world, with the vast majority still centered in mainland China. The number of people infected continues to rise daily, however, as 2,130 deaths have been recorded along with 16,882 reported recovered.
The CDC is taking strong precautions as well by supplying state health departments with testing kits and supporting quarantine efforts.
In a media briefing with reporters, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said that the CDC is “preparing as if this were the next pandemic, but we are hopeful still that this is not and will not be the case.”
Messonnier also noted, however, that despite relatively effective containment and treatment of COVID-19 in the U.S., “At some point, we are likely to see community spread in the U.S. or in other countries.”