MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Donald Trump is trying to calm concerns about a growing epidemic.
There are now more than 80,000 cases of the coronavirus worldwide, and 60 confirmed cases in the United States.
Trump says his early actions to stop incoming flights from parts of China gave the United States a head start. He put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the fight against the spread, and he’s asking Congress for $2.5 billion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s not if, but when the coronavirus will spread in the U.S. Officials say they’re looking into the first possible case of the disease without a known link to travel abroad.
“We’re very, very ready for this,” Trump said. “If they want to give more, we’ll do more. We’re going to spend whatever is appropriate.”
Preparations are underway to get Minnesota ready for coronavirus as the potential for an outbreak is growing. The disease is not in the state now, but there is one pending case involving a person who traveled to Southeast Asia.
From schools, to hospitals and beyond, leaders are trying to get ahead of the disease that’s proving deadly.
Minneapolis is 6,931 Miles from Wuhan, China, but the virus that manifested on the other side of the world is getting closer. There are 57 cases in the United States, including two in Illinois and one in Wisconsin — putting some Minnesotans like Joshua Grover on watch.
“I don’t allow it to affect my everyday life, yet it is something that is very prevalent on my mind as far as, like, whether or not it will spread, and if it does, how much it will impact my own life and things that I’m doing here,” Grover said.
And for some, like Minneapolis resident Robert Cook, it brings back memories of things like Ebola or H1NI.
“It’s part of the universe, it’s part of the cycle,” Cook said. “And we ought to do all we can to stop it.”
Several groups are doing something to stop or control it. Minneapolis Public Schools say they have been preparing for months, and they will release details soon. St. Paul Public Schools say nurses are being prepped on the latest. Metro Transit says they sanitize vehicles daily, and are prepared to do more.
And Dr. Rahul Koranne, head of Minnesota Hospital Association, says protocols are in place.
“We will call the Department of Health, they will test that patient, we will isolate that patient and work with the Department of Health closely to make sure that that infection does not spread,” Koranne said.
He says although coronavirus is new, it is also familiar.
“This is a virus more like the flu than Ebola,” Koranne said.
If needed, he says hospitals will use isolation techniques that are already in place for conditions like tuberculosis.
“The bottom line is the hospitals and health systems across the state of Minnesota are prepared,” Koranne said.
The World Health Organization says it’s too early to call coronavirus a pandemic, but now is the time to prepare.