As the coronavirus spreads, there are more questions than answers, but an expert says since most cases aren't life-threatening, it makes the virus even more challenging to contain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday, Feb. 25 that a coronavirus outbreak is likely coming to the United States. Globally, the virus is now in 30 countries.
“We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a press conference.
Dr. James Hamblin, a trained radiologist who left his residency to report on health issues for The Atlantic, compared the coronavirus to "something like a bad flu."
"With its potent mix of characteristics, this virus is unlike most that capture popular attention: It is deadly, but not too deadly. It makes people sick, but not in predictable, uniquely identifiable ways," Hamblin wrote in a story headlined, "You're likely to get the coronavirus."
"Part of what we wanted to convey with that headline is it's likely this is something that's going to be around a long time," Hamblin said in an interview with MSNBC. "It's not suggesting that most people will get it in the short term, but in the long term, if this stays with us for multiple seasons, years, eventually - yeah."
Some experts Hamlin interviewed said the coronavirus may become part of the seasonal illness landscape, like the flu, common cold and sore throat.
"It is going to come to America," Hamblin said of the coronavirus. "It is going to spread. No one is expecting we won't have a significant number of cases."
But Hamblin said "we can't just shut down our society in the way China did.
"Once we can test and we know how this spreads and who is most vulnerable, we can be strategic about what we close and what we don't."
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