'We're past the point of containment': US health officials change tone on outbreak

Nationally, 607 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the U.S., with 22 related deaths as of 2:30 p.m., March 9. Worldwide, 113,579 cases have been reported. 

Key updates:

1. "We're past the point of containment," Scott Gottlieb, MD, former commissioner of the FDA, said on CBS' "Face the Nation," according to the Los Angeles Times. Health officials have announced a national shift to mitigation strategies, such as canceling large gatherings and having employees work from home. 

"We'll get through this, but it's going to be a hard period. We're looking at two months, probably, of difficulty," Dr. Gottlieb said.

Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that the outbreak can no longer be prevented, and elderly or sick people should avoid traveling and crowds, according to Politico.

2. The quarantined cruise ship in California is scheduled to dock March 9, according to the Los Angeles Times. More than 2,400 passengers will be screened in a process that will take two to three days, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said March 8.

3. Six states have declared emergencies and 34 have reported COVID-19 cases, according to USA Today. California, Florida, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Washington have all declared emergencies as local cases increase.   

4. Washington state has reported 18 COVID-19 deaths, with at least 14 linked to one nursing home in King County, CNN reports. Kirkland, Wash.-based Life Care Center is critically understaffed, with only three employees showing up one night to serve about 90 residents, a first responder told CNN. The CDC has provided the facility with extra nurses, practitioners and physicians, a facility spokesperson said during a March 7 news conference.

5. Nearly 70 Florida hospital employees are in isolation after being exposed to two infected patients, according to News-Press. One of the patients at Fort Myers, Fla.-based Gulf Coast Medical Center died March 5, though no employees have shown signs of the virus. 

6. "No, I'm not concerned at all," President Donald Trump said March 7 when asked if he was worried by the COVID-19 cases confirmed near Washington, D.C., according to USA Today. He added, "No, we've done a great job with it." 

7. The CDC shipped tests sufficient to test about 75,000 individuals for COVID-19 to public health laboratories, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, said March 7. All labs that received initial CDC tests have received replacements after manufacturing issues were detected. Test manufacturers believe an additional 4 million tests could be shipped by the end of next week, though the number of tests shipped is larger than the number of patients who can be tested.  

8. Sen. Ted Cruz is self-quarantining after interacting with an individual infected with COVID-19, according to Politico. The Republican senator from Texas interacted with a person at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland last week who later tested positive for COVID-19. Mr. Cruz has not experienced any symptoms.

Editor's note: This article was updated March 9 at 2:01 p.m.

More articles on public health:
Flu has killed 20,000, CDC estimates
US coronavirus cases rise to 238; first vaccine trials seek volunteers
New Hampshire's first coronavirus patient ignored orders to self-isolate

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