World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General in his regular media briefing on March 11, 202 stated that WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. WHO therefore have made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.
COVID-19 Cases Reported to CDC
CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concernexternal icon” (PHEIC). On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.
The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a reportexternal icon out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
Learn more about the symptoms associated with COVID-19.
There are ongoing investigations to learn more. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk to the general public from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people; the severity of resulting illness; and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccines or medications that can treat the illness). That this disease has caused severe illness, including illness resulting in death is concerning, especially since it has also shown sustained person-to-person spread in several places. These factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic. As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer toward meeting the third criteria, worldwide spread of the new virus.
It is important to note that current circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. This is a rapidly evolving situation and CDC’s risk assessment will be updated as needed.
Current risk assessment:
- For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.
- People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.
- Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on location.
CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.
National Weather Outlook
National Discussion and Travel Weather
By Ziegenfelder of the NWS
- A Slight Risk of excessive rainfall is in place over parts of Southern California and Arizona on Thursday into Friday morning
- Heavy snow over parts of the Northwest, the Rockies, and Central High Plains on Friday
- There is an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms Tennessee/Ohio Valleys
- Chance for accumulating snow and rain/freezing rain in Northern New England
An upper level trough off the coast of Southern California will continue to generate scattered showers across the Southwest. As the trough advances eastward, bands of heavy showers and thunderstorms will drench portions of Southern California, the Lower Colorado River Valley, and Central Arizona. A Slight Risk for excessive rainfall has been issued for these aforementioned areas on Thursday. Flash Flood Watches are also in effect for some of these areas through Friday.
As the upper trough moves into the Four Corners region on Friday, so will its precipitation shield which will overrun a colder air-mass and lead to snow in the Rockies and Central High Plains. While exact accumulations are still subject to change, there is a good chance for greater than 6 inches of snow in portions of the Colorado Rockies, Northern New Mexico, and West-Central Nebraska. Meanwhile, in the Northwest and Northern Rockies a cold dome of Canadian High Pressure will spill frigid temperatures into these regions Friday/Saturday. A new upper trough diving south from the Northeast Pacific will be responsible for rain in the valleys and snow in the mountains of the Northwest on Friday. Winter Storm Watches have been issued for portions of Northern Montana in advance of this impending winter storm where snow totals of 6 to 12 inches of snow are possible between Friday and into Saturday night.
To the east, as a surface low pressure tracks east from the Central Plains on Thursday, additional showers and thunderstorms will develop along a warm front that will extend from the Middle Mississippi Valley into the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. Some thunderstorms will produce heavy rainfall rates and the potential exists for localized flash flooding. A Marginal Risk for excessive rainfall has been issued for portions of these regions on Thursday while a Slight Risk for severe weather extends from northeast Texas and the Middle Mississippi Valley to the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. As a cold front swings through the Eastern U.S. on Friday, it will stall over Texas and lift north as a warm front later that evening. This will lead to another round of showers and thunderstorms in the Southern Plains Friday evening where rain may fall heavily at times.
Elsewhere, portions of Northern New England may pick up several inches of snow ahead of a storm system tracking into Southeastern Canada by Friday morning. Some lake effect snow showers are also possible Friday morning over the Upper Great Lakes but accumulations will be light on average. The Nation’s Heartland can expect a mild Thursday with temperature anomalies ranging between 15 to 20 degrees above normal. It will then be the East Coast’s turn for spring-like temperatures come Friday. Both the Nation’s Heartland and the Northeast will cool down this weekend in wake of a cold frontal passage late week.
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