U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is demanding the federal government declare a public health emergency in connection with the coronavirus.
The coronavirus appears to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and China has listed 106 deaths related to the outbreak. To date, there have been only five confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., while roughly two-dozen potential cases are being investigated.
While there is no immediate health risk in the state or the country, the senator insisted a health emergency declaration was needed to prepare against a potential outbreak on this side of the Pacific.
“I urge the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to declare a public health emergency so we can ensure that the Centers for Disease Control (and Prevention) is able to access the additional funding it may need to expedite the development of a vaccine and to prepare to contain any outbreak in our country,” Blumenthal said. “The recent coronavirus strain exploding in China has resulted in many deaths and therefore proactive steps must be taken at the federal and state levels. My office is in constant contact with Connecticut state public health officials and I stand ready to assist state officials to protect the health of Connecticut residents.”
Gov. Ned Lamont issued a statement noting that two Connecticut residents – one in New Haven and a Wesleyan student in Middletown – that may have possibly contracted coronavirus had, instead, tested positive for influenza type A and were most likely dealing with a seasonal flu. However, both persons remain in isolation while final testing results for coronavirus are taking place.
“The state is closely monitoring reported cases and remaining cautious on behalf of the public,” Lamont said. “We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to provide updated information on these developments to the people of our state. We ask that the public not panic but take possible symptoms seriously and consult a healthcare professional.”