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  • >>> Hello, everyone.

  • Welcome to CDC's private partner call.

  • We're so grateful that you've joined us today.

  • With me is Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director for national center for

  • immunization and respiratory diseases as well as the senior official for

  • CDC's COVID-19 response.

  • >> NANCY MESSONNIER: Good afternoon and thank you for joining us today.

  • I'm happy to take a few minutes to go through an update, and then I

  • think we have some time for questions.

  • CDC is responding aggressively to the global outbreak of COVID-19.

  • This is historic, unprecedented outbreak.

  • We really haven't seen anything like this since perhaps the pandemic of

  • influenza in 1918.

  • Globally, there are somewhere up to 80,000 cases across 169 WHO member

  • countries, and unfortunately more than 3,000 deaths.

  • In the United States, there are about 10,000 cases with more cases

  • really every day, 3,000 new cases since yesterday.

  • Every state in the United States has been impacted as well as the

  • District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands and

  • there have been 150 COVID deaths reported so far.

  • We should expect these numbers to go up over the next few days as we are

  • really in an acceleration phase, says but different parts of the country

  • have been impacted differently. Some states are well into their

  • outbreaks where other states are really just beginning.

  • CDC is adapting some of our existing surveillance systems to better

  • track COVID-19, and you'll be seeing more information on our website.

  • We do know that the virus is capable of spreading easily and sustainably

  • from person to person.

  • And we also know that older people and people with severe chronic

  • conditions are at higher risk for serious COVID-19 illness, and so we're

  • asking them to take special precautions, and we're asking everyone to

  • take special precautions to protect them.

  • I know that everybody wants to know how long this outbreak will last.

  • But the truth is, we don't really know.

  • What we do know is that if we act together and act now, we can bend the

  • curve of the epidemic so that less people are impacted, and so that our

  • health system, health sector has more time to catch up.

  • The duration of the outbreak depends on many factors.

  • It depends on how well we do at social distancing and travel

  • restrictions.

  • It does depend a little bit on what is happening with sustained

  • transmission in other countries. It is a new virus.

  • We know some things about it from research here and some things about it

  • from other countries, and we know about similar viruses, but we have

  • some details that we don't specifically know yet. For example, the

  • duration of immunity after infection and all the details about

  • transmission and clinical severity.

  • There are upwards of 50 modelers across the United States working on

  • these kind of questions, and we have a lot of data that we're looking at

  • to try to make these predictions which I know we all want.

  • The next point is what you can do.

  • And we are at a phase where we really need everyone to come together to

  • respond to this public health threat.

  • On March 16th, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the President

  • issued new guidelines to help protect Americans.

  • This is called the 15 days to slow the spread.

  • It lays out guidelines for a nationwide effort to slow the spread, and

  • it calls for implementation of measures to increase social distancing

  • between people at all levels of society.

  • This is a massive proactive preventive response to COVID-19 to slow the

  • spread and blunt the impact of the disease on the United States.

  • But in order to do this, we need everyone's help to pitch in, everyone

  • across all of our communities has a role to play.

  • We're asking people all across the country to stay home as much as

  • possible and practice social distancing, which means that we're

  • decreasing the opportunity to transmit between people.

  • This includes canceling of postponing gatherings of more than ten people

  • and closing schools in some areas as determined by local and state

  • governments.

  • We've asked about -- we've been asked about guidelines for working

  • outside, and the guidance remains the same.

  • Stay 6 feet apart.

  • That's about two arms' lengths, and cause and sneeze into your arm

  • because you don't want to expose other people to your coughs and

  • sneezes.

  • You need to know that there is no vaccine currently to protect against

  • COVID-19, and scientists are working as fast as they can.

  • Even with that, it likely will be a year before we have a vaccine that

  • we can give to everyday Americans.

  • And there aren't any approved medications to treat it yet.

  • There are a whole bunch of treatments being investigated, and the

  • President announced earlier today with FDA, the rapid speed-up of all of

  • those treatments, and we hope that we'll have specific treatments soon.

  • But those things are not yet widely available, and so we need to make

  • sure that our clinicians have all the information they need to treat

  • their patients.

  • We do know, though, that right now the best, most effective thing that

  • we can do is social distancing.

  • It actually sounds to some people mundane, that is stay home, but in

  • fact, there's a bunch of scientific research on this with more than 20

  • different published articles that talk about what -- how effective

  • social distancing can be in combination with other measures, and we know

  • that social distancing works better when it's implemented in concert

  • with other measures.

  • We're calling these 15 days a pause, a chance to reset, but it really

  • won't -- will only be effective if every community across the United

  • States takes it seriously.

  • Now, we do have a lot of guidance on our website, and now we're really

  • working on tools to help with implementing and translating that

  • guidance.

  • So we have, for example, guidance for people who have been isolating at

  • home to help determine when they can discontinue isolation.

  • That continues to be updated as more information is available.

  • We're reviewing and updating our travel notices almost daily. There's

  • currently what's called the level 2 --

  • [ No audio ]

  • Sorry, I understand that we lost audio.

  • Had to regroup over here.

  • I hate technical difficulties, says but let's see.

  • I'll start back with we do have travel notices on our website being

  • updated almost daily. There's currently what's called the level 2

  • travel notice for the whole world, which indicates ongoing community

  • transmission.

  • And essentially what it means it that we're recommending that older

  • adults and people of any age with serious chronical medication

  • conditions should consider postponing travel to most global

  • destinations.

  • Domestically, we don't generally issue that kind of guidance, but in

  • general, we're saying that people at high risk should stay home and that

  • everyone should be thinking seriously about their travel, especially

  • globally but even domestically.

  • Expect more information about this every day.

  • We also have guidance documents for caring for someone at home.

  • If you have someone sick in your home with COVID-19, of course, you

  • should be taking care of them.

  • But you need to be doing it safely.

  • We don't want you to get infected, too.

  • How to disinfect your home if someone's sick and keep workplaces, homes

  • or commercial establishments safe. We have guidance for child-care

  • settings, healthcare professional fact sheets, and a new landing page on

  • our website for those at risk specifically older adults, those with

  • underlying conditions.

  • And again, check back every day on our website because you'll see more

  • information and more tools daily.

  • Of particular interest to you may be our business guidance and the

  • expanded guidance covering environmental cleaning and disinfection

  • recommendations that addresses cleaning recommendations in various

  • settings, including answering questions we've heard about the bleach

  • solution proportions for use on surfaces, addressing linens and

  • clothing, and personal protective equipment.

  • Another useful tool on our COVID-19 website home page, we now have a map

  • of the United States.

  • It shows the number ofs confirmed COVID cases state by state.

  • You can also click on your state to be taken to the state department

  • COVID-19 page where you can get more detailed information for your

  • state.

  • The intensity of an outbreak may differ according to geographic

  • location.

  • The local health departments will have guidance specific to your

  • communities.

  • Before we open it up for Q&As, I would like to address some of the

  • topics in areas many of you have already submitted questions on.

  • So --

  • >> Okay.

  • Let's start by -- let's see, we're getting a whole bunch of questions in

  • here.

  • I'm going to try to aggregate them.

  • Could you speak a little bit about how bad you think the pandemic will

  • get?

  • >> NANCY MESSONNIER: So I think this is a really important question. Of

  • course, we all want to know how bad this is going to get and how long

  • it's going to last.

  • Right now we are in an acceleration phase. That is, we've seen 3,000

  • new cases since yesterday.

  • We're on the upward part of a curve, and we should expect more

  • acceleration over the next couple days.

  • That's why it's so important that we all act now and act together to

  • bend that curve so that we can moderate the impact.

  • What that means is lowering the curve so that we have less cases every

  • day and hopefully less cases total, but also by having less cases every

  • day, we really can help the health sector catch up.

  • How long is it going to last? I don't know for sure, but I think we

  • should expect to see at least some places have impact for this disease

  • through the summer.

  • >> Great. Thank you.

  • Okay.

  • A question about if someone is -- tests positive, recovers, and then

  • is -- is it possible to become reinfected again?

  • >> NANCY MESSONNIER: Yeah.

  • This is a great question that we've been asked a lot.

  • This is a new disease. It's only been discovered since beginning of the

  • year.

  • And so there's some information that we don't have yet.

  • In general, for most respiratory infections, getting infected leads to

  • immunity, and that immunity protects you against either the whole

  • disease or at least having serious disease, so we're hoping certainly

  • that that's true for COVID-19, but this is an area where there's lots of

  • research, and I expect there to be more information coming.

  • So we don't know for sure yet.

  • We certainly hope so.

  • >> Thanks. Okay. Many, many questions from our partners about closures

  • such as why child-care centers and schools are closing, why some prisons

  • are implementing restrictions while others are not.

  • Is there any general advice you can give on closures?

  • >> NANCY MESSONNIER: So closure decisions are made at a state and local

  • level.

  • CDC does provide guidance, but ultimately the decision to close is made

  • at the state and local health department level, and for your businesses,

  • the decision should be made in conjunction with state and local health

  • departments.

  • I talk about the acceleration of bend the curve, and that is true

  • nationally, but this really does look differently in some communities

  • compared to others. Some communities are already seeing a whole lot of

  • disease, and some communities are seeing very little.

  • And that may explain why guidance differs in different places.

  • But in general, we are asking everybody across the country, even in

  • places that haven't yet seen a lot of disease, to take this seriously

  • and act now.

  • I know it's disruptive. It's certainly disruptive for my family. It's

  • certainly disruptive for my colleagues here at CDC as we all figure out

  • how to cope.

  • But working together is the best way for us to impact this disease right

  • now.

  • >> Thank you. Okay.

  • We're receiving a lot of questions from individuals unsure about

  • continuing their regular doctor and dental appointments.

  • What advice do you have for them?

  • >> NANCY MESSONNIER: Yeah. It's really important right now that we take

  • into account how much work our healthcare sector needs to do to take

  • care of patients with COVID-19, to be able to make sure that those

  • patients are taken care of, a lot of doctors' offices and a lot of

  • communities are recommending that individuals postpone their regular

  • doctor and dentist appointments.

  • And that's things like routine visits, cleaning, checkups, elective

  • procedures.

  • I would also say, though, that there are some things that we don't want

  • to delay.

  • And if you have questions, you need to call your healthcare provider.

  • For example, childhood infant vaccines, it's important that we still get

  • those vaccines in.

  • But it's important that we do it safely.

  • And so if you have questions about your routine care, you should contact

  • your own healthcare provider who's best equipped to come up with

  • recommendations for your particular situations.

  • >> Great.

  • And in the inverse, there's some questions from dentists or doctors