CDC officials warn of coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S.

The new coronavirus, COVID-19, will almost definitely spread in the United States - and hospitals, businesses, and schools should start making plans.

The new coronavirus, COVID-19, will almost definitely spread in the United States - and hospitals, businesses, and schools should start making plans. "It's not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen," said Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a news briefing. "We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad," Messonnier added. As of Tuesday, the United States had recorded 57 cases of COVID-19, most of them tied to a cruise ship overwhelmed by the virus after it docked in Japan. However, considering the outbreaks in more than two dozen countries, federal health officials appear to believe that COVID-19's spread in the United States was inevitable, though it is not yet known whether it would be mild or severe. "We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus," HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II told a Senate panel on Tuesday. "And we need to be realistic about that." Hospital administrators across the country are starting to prepare for a wave of patients infected with COVID-19. This includes conserving medical supplies such as specialized masks and ventilators. Many facilities are also planning to treat patients at home, using telemedicine for those with mild symptoms.