In an exclusive interview, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said her agency is seeing early signs that the number of cases in other cities are already beginning to spike…

“Everything that I’m seeing today suggests to me that we need to take this virus very seriously, and that we have to be absolutely sure that our health care system in diverse geographies is ready for increased burden, and that we have good systems to detect, track, isolate and reduce the spread of continued new cases. So I would be very reluctant to let up on measures in the nation as a whole. There are probably geographies where the virus hasn’t yet arrived in great force but where the health care system needs to be prepared for it,” Schuchat said.

“I think what we’re seeing in New York City and New York state right now is a real warning to other areas about what may happen or what may already be starting to happen, and these efforts to make sure that our health care system’s ready and that we can protect the most vulnerable before we ease up on the social measures that are in place,” she said. “The measures are meant to be used in a layered way, and it may be possible that selected ones might be eased up on. But as I talk to colleagues around the world who are facing different stages of this epidemic, I think we are all trying to make sure we have the very best information about how to ease up and also about how to minimize the unintended consequences, the negative consequences of the mitigation effort.”