Covid-19 Containment Efforts Appear to Have Failed: What Happens Next?

Monday, March 2, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Daisy Luther
March 2, 2020

As confirmed cases of Covid-19 pop up around the United States, it appears that containment efforts have failed.

Over the weekend, the number of confirmed cases in the United States rose to 88. People have tested positive for coronavirus in the following states: Washington, California, Illinois, Rhode Island, New York, Florida, Texas, and Oregon. Two people in Washington have died and it is believed that the virus may have been spreading through the state undetected for six weeks now. The case in Texas is an evacuee who was “mistakenly” released from a quarantine facility by the CDC. The case in New York is a woman who resides in Manhattan who had recently visited Iran.

Diamond Princess evacuees who have tested negative are due to be released from quarantine today, but some cases with incubation that lasted as long as 27 days have many wondering if the 14-day quarantine is long enough.

The virus has prompted some school closures in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Rhode Island. Thousands of Americans are self-quarantined. California, Washington, and Oregon have reported “community spread,” which means that investigators are unable to figure out where patients have contracted the virus. Community spread is generally a turning point in an outbreak that means the illness is uncontained.

An explosion in purchases of essential items like food and toilet paper took place all over the country this weekend as people began to become more aware of the need to be prepared to stay home for a period of time. (If you need more information about getting prepared for quarantines, read this article and get this book.)

A series of errors by the CDC is part of the failure
The CDC failed to follow guidelines laid out by the World Health Organization and developed its own test. Unfortunately, that test was faulty, putting the nation weeks behind in detected cases.

As a result, until Wednesday the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration only allowed those state labs to use the test — a decision with potentially significant consequences. The lack of a reliable test prevented local officials from taking a crucial first step in coping with a possible outbreak — “surveillance testing” of hundreds of people in possible hotspots. Epidemiologists in other countries have used this sort of testing to track the spread of the disease before large numbers of people turn up at hospitals. (source)

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