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CDC director: COVID-19 is greatest public health crisis in over 100 years

Director for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield. (Photo: CDC)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The White House announced Tuesday the effects of COVID-19 on the country may be grim — expecting roughly 100,000 to 240,000 deaths before the pandemic is over. In Utah, experts are predicting the virus won’t peak until near the end of April.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told Dave and Dujanovic Wednesday the crisis is something the country should take seriously.

“I think it’s important for the American public to understand about the potential magnitude of the challenge that we have,” Redfield said. “This is the greatest public health crisis that has hit this nation in more than 100 years. That’s not a hyperbole, that’s just a fact.”

Redfield said it’s important for Americans to remember they aren’t completely defenseless in the fight against the virus.

“We have, actually, one of the most powerful weapons against this virus right in our own hands,” he said. “And that’s our personal decisions.”

Redfield said that’s why social distancing practices — maintaining a six-foot distance between people while staying home as much as possible — are so important.

He thanks those who have already sacrificed what they can to prevent the virus, and calls on those who have been “sitting on the sidelines” to join the efforts.

Redfield said he acknowledges that most of those who contract the virus — roughly 98.5% — will recover. But, he said that’s not the whole reason they’re fighting.

“We’re trying to protect the vulnerable,” Redfield said. “Those are the ones that are at risk for mortality.”

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States