Following an expansion of its testing criteria by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York City is waiting to see if an ill resident who recently returned from Italy is infected with the coronavirus. To date, there are been no confirmed cases of the disease in the city. The latest test is only the eighth that has been sent to the CDC, which is based in Atlanta and is handling most of the testing in the U.S.
On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC's Brian Lehrer that the test result should take "another day or two." He reiterated his demand that the city be given the ability to do testing at its own lab facility and accused the Trump administration of holding up the process.
"This is really getting ridiculous. We are in a global pandemic," he said. "This is going from a disorganized mess to a failure very, very quickly."
The World Health Organization has refrained from calling the coronavirus a pandemic, which means a large global spread of an infectious disease.
But some health experts have said the designation is weeks overdue.
CDC officials have attributed the delay with local testing to a flaw found in some of the test kits that were sent out earlier this month. The federal health agency has said it is working on coming up with a new test but has not been able to provide a timeline on when it would be ready. Buzzfeed reported that New York City has received permission from the FDA to work on their own test for the virus while it waits for the CDC test.
De Blasio urged New Yorkers to contact a doctor if they are feeling sick and have been to any of the infected areas. New Yorkers have also been encouraged to wash their hands more frequently for 20 seconds each time.
As of Friday, the coronavirus has sickened more than 83,000 people in at least 53 countries.
Here in the U.S., where there are 60 confirmed cases, concern about the disease has been mounting following the CDC's telephone press briefing on Tuesday. During the call, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said that it was no longer a question of if, but of "when and how many people in this country will have severe illness."
The following day, President Trump tapped Vice President Mike Pence to lead the task force coordinating the country's response on the virus and downplayed its potential impact. The New York Times later reported that Pence has sought to control messaging on the virus from federal health officials. The CDC will hold a press briefing on Cornavirus this afternoon—their first since Tuesday. Panic over the outbreaks have caused the stock markets to slide, posting its worst week since 2008.
"This is something that has become an object lesson," de Blasio said, when asked about the Trump's administration apparent lack of transparency. "It will come back to bite them."