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CDC head: Coronavirus could be around through all of 2020

Posted at 9:27 PM, Feb 13, 2020

In an interview with CNN, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said that coronavirus could be around for the entire duration of 2020 as the CDC prepares for the possibility of a widespread infection.

This comes as the CDC says that the risk to the general public is low.

While thousands have been infected in China, there have been only 15 confirmed cases in the United States. Although Redfield expects there is a possibility of it becoming a "community virus," aggressively monitoring those with suspected and confirmed cases buys the CDC time. The time is needed as Redfield told CNN that not much is known about how coronavirus is spread, and how to treat it.

"The containment phase is really to give us more time. The virus will become a community virus at some point in time, this year or next year," Redfield told CNN. "We don't have any evidence that this coronavirus is really embedded in the community at this time, but with that said, we want to intensify our surveillance so that we're basing those conclusions based on data."

Making things more challenging for Redfield, he said, is that it's possible for someone infected with coronavirus to not display symptoms.

"What I've learned in the last two weeks is that the spectrum of this illness is much broader than was originally presented. There's much more asymptomatic illness," Redfield said. "A number of the confirmed cases that we confirmed actually just presented with a little sore throat."

Click here to read CNN's full report.