CDC Officials Says It’s Too Late For U.S. To Bring Coronavirus Under Control

( The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that it’s impossible for the United States to bring the coronavirus under control.

New daily coronavirus cases in recent weeks have outpaced the daily numbers from back in April, when the virus first started to spread in the Northeast and in Washington state. That’s when most officials in the U.S. thought the virus was peaking.

Now, though, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Huge outbreaks in the South and West have officials in all parts of the country worried.

In an interview with The Journal of American Medical Association, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC, said:

“We’re not in the situation of New Zealand or Singapore or Korea where a new case is rapidly identified and all the contacts are traced and people are isolated who are sick and people who are exposed are quarantined and they can keep things under control. We have way too much virus across the country for that right now, so it’s very discouraging.”

South Korea experienced one of the first outbreaks outside of China, but they were able to contain the spread by testing a lot of people, contact tracing, and then isolating those people who were infected. The country had a peak of 851 cases on March 3, but they’ve had fewer than 100 new cases each day since April 1, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

New Zealand had a peak in early April with 89 new cases in a single day. But on June 8, officials in the country said there were no more active infections among the nation’s 5 million people. There have been a few cases since then that were brought in by international travelers, but local health officials were able to contain and manage the infections so there were never more than 10 new cases per day through this month.

Schuchat is concerned about the outlook for the U.S., since the country is taking a much different approach to the virus than the three countries that did a great job of containing it. As a whole, the country is reporting more than 30,000 new infections every day.

“This is really the beginning,” she said. “I think there was a lot of wishful thinking around that country that, ‘hey it’s summer. Everything’s going to be fine. We’re over this,’ and we are not even beginning to be over this. There are a lot of worrisome factors about the last week or so.”

A huge part of the challenge is the sheer size of the U.S., and the fact that outbreaks are happening in different parts of the country at different times. Schuchat explained:

“What we have in the United States, it’s hard to describe because it’s so many different outbreaks. There was a wave of incredible acceleration, intense interventions and control measures that have brought things down to a much lower level of circulation in the New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey area.

“But in much of the rest of the country, there’s still a lot of virus. And in lots of places, there’s more virus circulating than there was.”