The coronavirus epidemic is continuing to sweep through Asia and is making frightening inroads across Europe, with governments in Italy and South Korea struggling to contain recent outbreaks. Now, one major American city is declaring a state of emergency as well, Breitbart reports.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed released a statement on Tuesday in which she pointed to the virus’ “global picture” as reason for alarm and emphasized that the situation is “changing rapidly.”
“We see the virus spreading in new parts of the world every day, and we are taking the necessary steps to protect San Franciscans from harm,” she declared.
Public health concerns grow
Dr. Grant Colfax serves as director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and he spoke of why he believes the declaration will provide much-needed assistance with the city’s preparedness initiatives, according to Breitbart.
“It allows us to look at things like shelters and other opportunities for us to expand in the event that that’s necessary and do a broader assessment of the city’s capacity to respond in the event that there is an outbreak of coronavirus in San Francisco,” Colfax stated.
Those words echoed the concerns expressed by Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who believes that widespread infection with coronavirus in the United States is essentially a foregone conclusion.
On Tuesday, Messonnier told reporters that ” successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder” as an increasing number of countries “experience community spread,” according to The Washington Post.
She went on: “It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses… Disruption to everyday life might be severe.”
Data from John Hopkins University reveals that South Korea alone experienced 12 deaths by Wednesday morning, the same number of fatalities recorded in Italy, two nations that have seen swift spikes in the number of affected individuals in recent days, according to CBS News.
For his part, President Trump has downplayed the seriousness of the threat posed by the virus, suggesting that mainstream media outlets are attempting to spread uncertainty and alarm for political reasons.
He tweeted: “Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC [MSNBC] (Comcast) & [CNN] are doing everything possible to make the [coronavirus] look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape!”
The president announced plans to hold a press conference Wednesday evening to discuss what is being done at the federal level to address the situation, efforts that include the creation of a Coronavirus Task Force and a request to Congress for $2.5 billion in funding to combat further spread of the illness, according to reports.