CDC takes steps to combat coronavirus, answers lawmakers concerns

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Members of Congress want answers so Americans can prepare themselves adequately for the coronavirus. On Tuesday, they had their chance to hear from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Do you have enough resources?” Connecticut Congresswoman Rose DeLauro asked.

The head of the CDC met with members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday to help the lawmakers better understand the situation around COVID-19, more commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

“Ninety-nine percent of the cases that occurred last night, occurred outside of China. This isn’t China. Right now, the epicenter, the new China, is Europe,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said.

Redfield says for the average healthy American, simply staying home and drinking fluids will be enough treatment. For more serious cases, medical experts are testing a new drug.

“We’re going to know probably by April whether that drug works or not, and that’s important because that’s a drug that can save lives, if it works,” Redfield said.

The CDC says the country’s primary focus is shifting from stopping the virus through quarantine to slowing its spread through broader mitigation tactics.

But some representatives want to see more of those efforts.

“We are behind the curve in testing, when South Korea can test 10,000 people in a day,” DeLauro said.

DeLauro and Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark expressed concern about the low level of testing.

“We have been warned about moving from containment to mitigation and I think the lack of testing that was done has hastened our move out of containment phase into mitigation,” Clark said.

The CDC says nearly 5,000 people have been tested through public labs and they are now working on a system to monitor the results from private labs, as well.

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