The deadly new coronavirus has now infected its first American soldier.
According to a statement from U.S. Forces Korea, the soldier is stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea.
The patient, a 23-year old male, is in self-quarantine at his off-base residence. He visited Camp Walker on Feb. 24 and Camp Carroll from Feb. 21-25. Medical personnel are determining whether any others may have been exposed.
On Tuesday, officials from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they are expecting an outbreak in the U.S.
“The coronavirus outbreak is rapidly evolving and spreading,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Cases are appearing worldwide without a known source of exposure, and successful containment at U.S. borders is becoming problematic.
“There is no vaccine or drug available to treat it,” Messonnier said.
Officials do not know if the spread of the virus will be mild or severe, she added, but Americans should prepare for it to disrupt their daily lives.
“We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” Messonnier told The New York Times.
Schools are recommended to consider dividing classrooms into smaller groups or use “internet-based teleschooling” to limit person-to-person contact among students, according to The Times.
When it comes to businesses, the official advised for in-person meetings to be replaced by telephone conferences or other “teleworking” options, according to The Times.
On Monday night, President Donald Trump requested $2.5 billion that he said will prepare the nation in case of a U.S. outbreak, as well as help other nations unprepared to handle the threat.
Earlier Monday, the CDC confirmed 53 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. The new numbers include 36 recent evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The number of stateside cases remains at 14.
According to the World Health Organization, the virus has now infected more than 80,000 worldwide.
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