Sen. Rick Scott fears threat of deadly Wuhan coronavirus

Scott asks feds for information about public health measures with state, local health officials

(Getty Images)

MIAMI – Sen. Rick Scott asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday to “take swift action” against a deadly cross-border outbreak of a new strain of the coronavirus, which started its human-to-human transmission in central China.

Scott sent CDC Director Robert Redfield a letter expressing his concern over the accuracy of the information that Chinese health officials have released since the cluster of respiratory infections was linked to animals at a market in Wuhan.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the virus, which officials said has already spread to the United States, Thailand, Japan, Macao and South Korea. With one confirmed travel-related case in Washington state, Scott asked Redfield for more information.

“China is rarely forthcoming,” Scott wrote on Twitter.

The World Health Organization reported officials are closely monitoring the “public health event.” Scott also asked Redfield to release more information about the federal government’s public health measures against the virus in coordination with state and local health officials.

China’s most recent release of information places the death toll at 17, and reports doctors are treating 544 cases. Virologists are concerned there could be more unreported cases since some of the people infected only show mild symptoms.

Health Officials in hazmat suits check body temperatures of passengers arriving from the city of Wuhan Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, at the airport in Beijing, China. Nearly two decades after the disastrously-handled SARS epidemic, Chinas more-open response to a new virus signals its growing confidence and a greater awareness of the pitfalls of censorship, even while the government is as authoritarian as ever. (AP Photo Emily Wang)

According to the CDC’s Tuesday report, the coronavirus patient in the U.S. is a man in his 30s who had returned to Seattle from Wuhan and remained in isolation at the Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett.

A notice explaining precautions to be taken by people traveling to Wuhan, China, is seen at a terminal of Rome's International Fiumicino airport, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Heightened precautions are being taken worldwide as a new strain of coronavirus has been infecting hundreds of people across the central Chinese metropolis. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Although the CDC deemed the risk in the U.S. to be low, officials announced on Friday that travelers from Wuhan are undergoing screening at airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Atlanta.

Hospital staff stand outside the emergency entrance of Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The number of cases of a new coronavirus from Wuhan has risen to over 400 in China health authorities said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

Chinese officials will start a quarantine in Wuhan on Thursday.

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.