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Not if, but when: How the CDC is preparing for the spread of the coronavirus

Posted at 6:58 AM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 09:19:12-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — The newest case of novel coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, is out of California and brings the total number infected in the U.S. to 60.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this could be the first case where the individual did not travel or have any contact with an infected person.

The CDC says it has struggled to expand the number of states that can test people for the virus.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Washington D.C. question whether President Trump's administration is spending enough money to get the country prepared.

"This is not the time to play politics," said Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader. "We want to make sure we have all the funding needed."

Other key concerns are stockpiling masks and other protective equipment for health workers.

The CDC recently put out a handy guide on what facial hair is suitable for a respirator mask. The guide was not created in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak, but can be used for helping contain the spread of any infectious disease. The CDC does not recommend wearing a mask unless you are already showing symptoms.

The National Institutes of Health's top infectious disease chief says a vaccine won't be ready for a year or more.

Health officials have spent an initial $105 million in emergency funding and have been looking elsewhere for money.

Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services said they plan on reimbursing state and local governments involving contact tracing, and lab testing.

"We are working closely with state, local, and private sector partners to mitigate the virus's potential spread in the United States as we expect to see more cases here," said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Alazar.

The COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people, most in China, and none in the U.S. Scientists still don't understand who's most at risk or what the death rate is.