As the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, continues to spread worldwide, the U.S. government has taken precautionary measures against a potential outbreak.
While the virus hasn’t put U.S. citizens in immediate danger, according to the CDC, the government has taken “unprecedented steps” in preparing for a potential outbreak by setting up quarantine areas at military bases throughout the U.S. and upholding travel restrictions. (RELATED: National Institutes Of Health’s Infectious Diseases Chief: Coronavirus ‘On The Verge’ Of Becoming Pandemic)
As of Tuesday, the World Health Organization has reported 73,332 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, with 72,528 cases in China, and 804 cases in 25 other countries, according to a situation report.
About 1800 people have died from the virus in China, and three have died in other countries, per the report.
— CDC (@CDCgov) February 14, 2020
The Department of Defense (DOD) approved and set up 15 quarantine camps on military bases near airports across the U.S. on Feb. 6 to prepare for more potential coronavirus cases, according to Business Insider.
The 15 quarantine locations are:
- Atlanta, Georgia: Dobbins Air Reserve Base
- Chicago, Illinois: Great Lakes Training Center Navy Base
- Dallas, Texas: Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base
- Detroit, Michigan: Fort Custer Training Center
- Fairfield, California: Travis Air Force Base
- Fort Carson, Colorado: Fort Carson
- Honolulu, Hawaii: JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam
- New York, New York: Fort Hamilton
- Newark, New Jersey: Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
- Omaha, Nebraska: Camp Ashland
- Riverside, California: March Air Reserve Base
- San Antonio, Texas: Lackland Air Force Base
- San Diego, California: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
- Seattle, Washington: Naval Base Kitsap
- Washington, D.C.: Joint Base Anacostia
“Under the request, DOD support at each location will be limited to providing housing support for up to 20 people as they undergo a period of quarantined observation. The department will also provide office space for several HHS personnel and their equipment through February 22, 2020,” The DOD statement reads.
800 U.S. citizens were evacuated from Wuhan in the past month, per Business Insider. The bases in Colorado, Nebraska, Texas and the three in California can hold up to 1,000 people. The other locations can hold up to 20 people.
The incubation period for the coronavirus, according to the CDC, is somewhere between two and 14 days, and the U.S. and several countries have used this to put together their quarantine plans, according to the Insider.
Feb. 11 marked the first successful U.S. quarantine in 60 years after the first 195 evacuees were allowed to leave the March Air Reserve Base in California. (RELATED: Two More Top Chinese Doctors Die Of Coronavirus — How Dangerous Is It?)
So far the CDC confirmed cases in California, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, Arizona, and Washington state.
Researchers believe novel coronavirus spreads mainly from person to person among close contacts through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are likely most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). https://t.co/TqiKAW9nRW pic.twitter.com/3GzrnnMYwa
— CDC (@CDCgov) February 14, 2020
The government issued a statement on Jan. 31 describing the precautions taken at the five U.S. airports that the most people use to travel from Wuhan, China to the U.S.
“The CDC is closely monitoring the situation in the United States, is conducting enhanced entry screening at 5 United States airports where the majority of travelers from Wuhan arrive, and is enhancing illness response capacity at the 20 ports of entry where CDC medical screening stations are located. The CDC is also supporting States in conducting contact investigations of confirmed 2019-nCoV cases identified within the United States,” the White House statement reads.
The CDC also regularly tweets out measures that U.S. citizens can take to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to #China. This is only for mainland China and does not apply to #HongKong, #Macau, or the island of #Taiwan. For more #newcoronavirus travel FAQs: https://t.co/5YgWL4164f pic.twitter.com/rTovIC73hr
— CDC Travel Health (@CDCtravel) February 15, 2020
“I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States,” the statement continues.
“Effective February 2, 2020, at 5pm, the U.S. government suspended entry of foreign nationals who have been in China within the past 14 days,” the CDC website reads.
U.S. citizens and their family members that have been in the effected areas of China are welcome back into the U.S. but are subject to a potential 14 days of quarantine.