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  • JUDY WOODRUFF: Chinese officials have confirmed over 6,000 cases of the coronavirus, and it

  • is clear the pathogen is nowhere near contained.

  • Tomorrow, the World Health Organization will determine whether to declare this outbreak

  • a global public health emergency.

  • William Brangham has the latest.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As this coronavirus continues its breakneck spread across China, the global

  • aviation industry is starting to isolate the country.

  • At least nine major airlines are limiting or stopping flights to and from mainland China,

  • including British Airways, United, American and Lufthansa.

  • The United States and many other nations are also warning their citizens to avoid any nonessential

  • travel to the country.

  • Dr. Trish Perl is chief of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical

  • Center.

  • DR. TRISH PERL, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center: This kind of dynamism, I have

  • certainly not witnessed in my career. So, I would say that it is really very, very dramatic.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Chinese officials are still struggling with the pace of the this outbreak.

  • Hospitals here in Wuhan, the epicenter city, have been overrun and understaffed for over

  • a week now.

  • YANZHONG HUANG, Council on Foreign Relations: Now even the Chinese health authorities admit

  • that this is -- in terms of contagiousness, is much stronger than we thought.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Yanzhong Huang is a public health researcher at the Council on Foreign

  • Relations.

  • YANZHONG HUANG: So, scientists are saying that it is -- that the cases are going to

  • continue to increase.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM: To stop people leaving affected areas, the government has shut down an unprecedented

  • number of railways and roads, effectively locking down more than 35 million people.

  • But cases have now appeared in over 30 different Chinese provinces, across a huge swathe of

  • the country. Public health experts say the official death toll will most certainly rise.

  • DR. TRISH PERL: The fact that we have however many mortality we have -- or how many deaths

  • we have today, that may not reflect the people who are still in care, not doing well, ultimately

  • who will die.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Dr. Perl and others also say, the speed and efficiency of this virus'

  • spread mean some of the containment efforts might have come too late.

  • DR. TRISH PERL: Overall what they're doing is reasonable, as best I can tell. I mean,

  • I think you have to understand that we're getting bits and pieces of what that response

  • is.

  • But I do wonder if a lot of this response actually happened, in a way, after the cat

  • was out of the bag.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM: On top of that, shortages of protective gear and diagnostic kits make

  • treating and tracking the virus especially hard.

  • YANZHONG HUANG: So, everywhere, we have seen this shortage, including in Shanghai, actually.

  • The people -- there's video clips showing that people actually were fighting for, like,

  • the facial masks in a store.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As the lockdown has grown, anger is growing as well. Protesters in Hong

  • Kong set fire to a public housing complex, furious that a proposed quarantine site was

  • going to be put near their homes.

  • Globally, there are fewer than 100 official cases outside of China. It's in at least eight

  • other Asian nations, as well as Australia, France, Germany, Canada, and the U.S. The

  • U.S. has just a handful of cases, and no known deaths.

  • Just for perspective, last year, the flu virus is estimated to have taken the lives of more

  • than 30,000 Americans.

  • Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tried

  • to tamp down fears over this new virus.

  • DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Right now,

  • there is no spread of this virus in our communities here at home.

  • This is why our current assessment is that the immediate health risk of this new virus

  • to the general public is low in our nation. The coming days and weeks are likely to bring

  • more confirmed cases here and around the world, including the possibility of some person-to-person

  • spread.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Those nearly 200 Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan have been screened

  • three times already. They will now spend three days in quarantine, where they will be watched

  • for signs of the virus.

  • For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Chinese officials have confirmed over 6,000 cases of the coronavirus, and it

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How China is responding to 'breakneck' spread of novel coronavirus

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    jimmyballacknego posted on 2020/02/08
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