February 29, 2020
Public Health Expert Tells Americans To 'Prepare For The Worst' When It Comes To Coronavirus

A medical expert is warning Americans to "prepare for the worst" in the event that there's a full-blown outbreak of coronavirus here in the U.S. -- a scenario that by some measures is looking increasingly likely by the day.

Dr. Anand Parekh tells Yahoo! Finance that the best thing Americans can do right now, as regards the deadly virus, is to start preparing.

"You always have to hope for the best, but you absolutely have to prepare for the worst," said Dr. Parekh, of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Parekh, who served as U.S. Department of Health & Human Services deputy assistant secretary for health from 2008 to 2015, also added that panicking won't help.

"I think the critical thing here for the American people is not to panic, but to be prepared," he said.

What should those preparations be? Stocking up on hand sanitizer and other disinfectants is a good starting point. And indeed, it's a bit of advice that Americans already appear to be taking seriously: bleach manufacturers such as Clorox are seeing their stocks reach record highs as the virus spreads. Similarly, tissue manufacturer Kimberly-Clark is also seeing record-high stock prices.

One thing Americans really shouldn't be loading up on, says Dr. Parekh, is face masks. Save those for the people who need them the most, he says.

"You should not be walking around with face masks. The individuals who need face masks are those who are infected, health care workers or those potentially that have been exposed. But if you are a healthy American, you do not need to be walking around with a face mask," Parekh warns.

BANGKOK, THAILAND - FEBRUARY 29: Thai people, wearing surgical masks, protest against the government amidst the global spread of the coronavirus at Kasetsart University February 29, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's Constitutional Court last week ordered the dissolution of the popular Future Forward Party, after finding the party guilty of violating election law by accepting a loan from its founder. The Future Forward Party acted as the opposition to the Thai military and leaders of Parliament. Despite concerns about Covid-19, a new strain of coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China, Thai's supporters of the Future Forward Party rally together to express their anger towards the current administration. (Photo by Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)
Getty Images | Lauren DeCicca

Meanwhile, efforts to contain the virus, though commendable, have been destined for failure from the beginning, says Parekh, who notes that "microbes no know borders."

Dr. Parekh's concerns about the coronavirus inevitably making its way to the U.S., and the need for Americans to prepare for it, are echoed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

As reported at the time by The Inquisitr, last week, the federal public health agency stressed that it's a matter of when, not if, there's a full-scale outbreak of coronavirus here.

To that end, the agency's recommendations echo those of Dr. Parekh -- namely, to stock up on hand sanitizer and disinfectant, and to wash your hands regularly and frequently.

Further, the agency suggests that those who have the option to work from home, or to attend school from home, make use of those opportunities in order to limit their exposure to other people.