As U.S. coronavirus tests fall significantly behind other countries like South Korea and Japan, the U.S. is now starting to export cases to neighboring countries.
According to the Star, one Canadian national who traveled to Las Vegas for an international conference was infected by coronavirus, raising the total count of patients in Ontario to 24.
Fear towards the expansion of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. has started to intensify after scientists warned the lack of tests in the country.
While South Korea has already tested 340,000 people to date and China has allocated enough resources to facilitate 1.5 million tests per week, the U.S. has merely tested thousands of people.
Lee Hyukmin, director at the Korean Society for Laboratory Medicine and a professor at Yonsei Severance Hospital, said that the death rate of coronavirus in South Korea has remained low because of the vamped up tests in the past two weeks.
However, in the U.S., Yale professor and radiologist Howard Forman, said that the actual number of cases could be much higher due to the lack of coronavirus tests.
It wouldn’t surprise me if we were to learn that most major hospitals have coronavirus patients in them right now.
Coronavirus death and infection rates greatly vary depending on the region and the level of safety precautions it has in place.
A study in South Korea found that the basic reproduction number of coronavirus can jump to 12 in places with inadequate safety precautions.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning against possible coronavirus community spread this week, scientists worry that the U.S. is at risk of seeing an actual epidemic if the issue with testing is not solved in the short-term.
A strict travel ban of other nationals from regions that have been heavily affected by coronavirus will not as efficient if the number of domestic coronavirus cases continues to increase.
As seen in India, 16 Italian nationals that traveled to the region carried coronavirus with them, as domestic cases in Italy started to spike.
While travel restrictions the evaluation of travel history remain important, scientists like Vanderbilt University School of Medicine infectious disease specialist William Schaffner said that it is more important to increase coronavirus testing capacity in the U.S. to contain the virus as much as possible.
Infectious diseases physician Isaac Bogoch said:
Toronto has another case of COVID19 in a traveler who acquired the infection in Las Vegas. You heard that right – Las Vegas. The USA is exporting cases and the travel history is rapidly becoming irrelevant.
On March 5, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said that the U.S. will be able to carry out 475,000 tests per week with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a private company.
In the upcoming weeks, that number could increase to 1.5 million, as CDC moves towards expanding testing capacity.
The question remains whether the government acted too late to raise coronavirus testing efforts instead of responding proactively in late February.
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Last modified: June 24, 2020 1:03 AM UTC