Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said Sunday the American public shouldn’t worry about the coronavirus outbreak in China.
“It’s a very, very low risk to the United States,” Fauci said during an interview with radio show host John Catsimatidis.
“But it’s something that we as public health officials need to take very seriously... It isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about. Because we have ways of preparing and screening of people coming in [from China]. And we have ways of responding - like we did with this one case in Seattle, Washington, who had traveled to China and brought back the infection.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Saturday that there are 1,320 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, only two are in the U.S. and the majority are centered in China.
Fauci went on to explain that since it is a virus, there are limited remedies to combat it or develop immunity among a population. He said NIAID is working on a vaccine, though it will be about three months until they can begin testing it on humans.
“We’ve just got to make sure that we are totally prepared [since] infectious diseases will continue to emerge on the human species. And we’ve got to be essentially perpetually prepared.”
It remains unclear how long the virus will be active in China, where over 30 million people in the Wuhan, China area have been quarantined so far.
On Saturday, it was reported that the U.S. government is preparing a charter flight this weekend to evacuate American citizens and diplomats from Wuhan.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Saturday that it is moving a qualifying event from Wuhan, China, to Amman, Jordan, over concerns about the outbreak.
John Catsimatidis is an investor in The Hill.