Federal health officials issued a blunt message Tuesday: Americans need to start preparing now for the possibility that more aggressive, disruptive measures might be needed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S.
"It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but more really a question of when it will happen — and how many people in this country will have severe illness. We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare with the expectation that this could be bad. I had a conversation with my family over breakfast this morning. And I told my children that while I didn't think that they were at risk right now, we, as a family, need to be preparing for significant disruption of our lives."
Those measures could include school closings, workplace shutdowns and canceling large gatherings and public events, she warned. "I understand this whole situation may seem overwhelming and that disruption to everyday life may be severe, but these are things that people need to start thinking about now," Messonnier said. "I continue to hope that in the end, we'll look back and feel like we were over prepared. But that is a better place to be in than being underprepared," she said.