The American public is at the mercy of government officials and fellow citizens to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV. No vaccine or specific treatment is available for this deadly illness. Roughly 10% of the people who get it die. Its symptoms include fever and acute respiratory illness such as a cough. It is spread from person to person. You can be a carrier and have no signs of the illness. That is a scary thing.
So, from a legal standpoint, as a lawyer who has a specialty in infectious disease malpractice including identifying risk and evaluating human behavior for negligence, this is what should be considered in stopping the spread of this virus, NOW, as of January 29, 2020.
- If you, as a citizen, have a fever and respiratory symptoms like a cough, you should not go anywhere, call the local health department in your community, and demand they take a sample to send to the CDC.
- If you are a local health department, you should be telling all of your residents to call if they have a fever and cough, and establish that person as a “PUI” (person under investigation), do a culture and send it to the CDC.
- If you are a health care provider, you should be culturing all patients who have a fever and cough and sending the sample to the CDC.
- If you are a hospital, nursing home or ambulatory care center, you should be isolating all patients with a fever and cough in a designated section of the hospital that uses dedicated equipment only for those patients and requires top-level infection control protocol.
- If you are the United States government, you should be canceling all flights to the United States from China and isolating anyone who has been in China for the last 2 months for 2 weeks at a minimum. Also, all people who have traveled to a place where there is a known case of infection should be quarantined for 2 weeks. Also, all flights from that region should be canceled.
- All travel should be prohibited to and from China.
- All Americans in China need to be evacuated and isolated for 2 weeks after they arrive back to the US.
- All public places in states where a known infected person has been, such as a school, should be closed for 2 weeks and anyone who becomes ill with the symptoms of coronavirus in those places should be isolated and cultured.
- Residents should minimize eating out, traveling, going to public places and doing other non-essential excursions from their home until this is under control.
- If you get sick and coronavirus is suspected, stay at home, keep all residents at home and your place of work isolated for 2 weeks until they are cleared and do not become ill.
Yes, I realize this sounds extreme, but this illness is deadly, has no cure and spreads like wildfire. It could be catastrophic to the human species. Also, the infectious time period is 2 weeks, and you could be a carrier and not even be sick. Also, they have NO way of determining if you have the virus. All they can do is eliminate other viruses through culturing. Everyone should do their part, including schools, employers, the public and the government.
Be careful out there!