The ex-director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the deadly coronavirus may be “impossible” to contain — and that kids may be secret carriers of the disease.
“We think it will be very difficult if not impossible to contain it … but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try,” Dr. Tom Frieden told reporters.
Frieden, who ran the agency under President Obama and was the New York City health commissioner under Mayor Mike Bloomberg, said the spread of the virus to more than 89,000 people across the world has been an “unprecedented situation.”
“Never before have we seen a pathogen emerge and have global spread like this. That is scary,” Frieden said.
Frieden pointed to evidence that people with mild or no symptoms, including children, may be secret carriers of the virus.
He cited a report of a 10-year-old boy who visited the outbreak’s epicenter in China and didn’t show any symptoms of the virus. But when the boy’s parents insisted doctors test him, he was diagnosed with the virus, according to the Lancet medical journal.
“The fact that children may get infected but not show symptoms poses a risk to pediatricians,” Frieden said.
The virus, known as COVID-19, has been most deadly with patients who are older or have underlying health problems, he said.
The disease, which has now reached 65 countries, has caused more than 3,000 deaths since December’s outbreak in Wuhan, China.