Fears of a global pandemic are rising again this week, as a seemingly uncontrollable outbreak of Coronavirus continues to spread around the globe.
The epicenter of the outbreak is Wuhan, China, where the virulent affliction is believed to have been passed from snakes to human beings at a wildlife market. With over 100 official deaths and thousands more infected, China is under extreme pressure to swiftly neutralize the threat that this contagion poses to mankind.
Of course, as with any event that casts a negative pall over China, the government in Beijing appears determined to keep the true impact of the outbreak to itself and is now refusing help from the American CDC.
At press conference Tuesday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the U.S. first offered to send experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on January 6 but China has not yet accepted the offer.
“CDC experts are standing by, ready willing and able to go immediately to China, either on a bilateral basis or under the auspices of the World Health Organization,” Azar said. “This is a major public health issue and we basically just need the best public health people we have in the world working on this.”
U.S. personnel could aid China in answering critical public health questions about how the virus spreads, its incubation period, and if it can be spread by those not yet showing symptoms, CDC Director Robert Redfield said.
“We are urging China: more cooperation and transparency are the most important steps you can take toward a more effective response,” Azar said.
Officials have stated that the Chinese are being a bit more cooperative than they were during the SARS epidemic some 15 years ago, but that their unwillingness to accept further assistance from the United States certainly isn’t helping anyone.
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