U.S. Health Officials Say They Are Not Overreacting to Coronavirus Concerns

Federal officials are defending against Chinese accusations that the United States is overreacting to the coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. says it is taking the same steps many other nations are: banning the entry of foreign nationals who were recently in China, and putting some returning Americans into quarantine.

With what it calls "the explosive nature" of the outbreak in China, they say this is not an overreaction.

As of Sunday night, any American re-entering the U.S. after visiting the Wuhan area faces a 14-day quarantine. Those who've been anywhere else on the Chinese mainland in the past 14 days must return through one of 11 designated airports, including Newark, New Jersey.

There, they'll undergo special screening. A CDC official expects to catch some incoming coronavirus cases.

"The goal here is to slow the entry of this virus into the United States," Dr. Nancy Messonier said during a teleconference, also reminding reporters on how fast the 2009 H1N1 flu spread across the country.

"That virus was on our doorstep when we recognized it. We didn't have much chance to prepare," she said. "This time we do have time to prepare, and we are preparing as if this were the next pandemic."
The CDC has also asked the FDA for permission to send its new rapid-test for coronavirus to state health departments, to speed up the processing time. The agency has already tested nearly 200 Americans for the virus, with 82 more people waiting for results.

So far, there are 11 confirmed cases.

In China on Monday, the first of two hospitals built specifically for coronavirus patients opened. But it could soon be overwhelmed. China's premier says there aren't enough tests for everyone who is sick, nor enough space in hospitals. Many with the virus are being sent home. Fortunately, few are venturing out.
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