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.
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.
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.
Chinese officials will start a quarantine in Wuhan on Thursday.