Trump Administration Forms Coronavirus Task Force

President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday a new task force to monitor and combat the new coronavirus that started in China.

The President’s Coronavirus Task Force will lead the U.S. government’s response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and keep Trump apprised of developments.

The task force will lead the Trump administration’s efforts to “monitor, contain, and mitigate the spread of the virus” and give Americans accurate and up-to-date health and travel information, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Secretary of Health Alex Azar, who held a press conference giving an update on the virus earlier this week, is leading the task force. Members include National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

The task force is being coordinated through the National Security Council and has been meeting daily since Monday. Trump chaired the meeting on Wednesday. Trump said in a social media post that he received a briefing on the Wuhan coronavirus “from all of our GREAT agencies, who are also working closely with China.”

“We will continue to monitor the ongoing developments. We have the best experts anywhere in the world, and they are on top of it 24/7!” he added.

Out of 165 people under investigation for the virus in the United States across 36 states, 68 have tested negative and five have tested positive. The confirmed cases are in Washington state, California, Arizona, and Illinois.

The virus originated in Wuhan, China, a city of around 11 million people.

A worker wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant in a neighborhood in Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong Province on Jan. 28, 2020. (Chinatopix via AP)

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause illness in people and others which circulate among animals. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people before spreading between people.

In two previous cases, the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) spread from camels to humans, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) spread from civet cats to humans. Experts aren’t yet sure of the origin of the new coronavirus, though it bears similarities to the bat coronavirus.

Human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus has been confirmed in multiple countries, including Germany, Japan, and Taiwan.

“When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website.

Worldwide, the virus has spread to 20 locations, including France, Finland, Australia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Thailand.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Administration Forms Coronavirus Task Force

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