Petaling Jaya (Malaysia): Soldiers wearing face mask patrolling a coronavirus-hit area on Sunday.—AP
Petaling Jaya (Malaysia): Soldiers wearing face mask patrolling a coronavirus-hit area on Sunday.—AP

WASHINGTON: America’s three top public health officials have gone into self-quarantine for two weeks after coming into contact with White House officials who tested positive for Coronavirus.

America is the worst victim of this deadly respiratory disease which has spread from the streets of New York to the shores of California and has even entered the White House. By Sunday afternoon, this deadly virus had killed more than 80,000 people across the United States and had infected more than 1.35 million.

The three officials who went into partial or full quarantine include Dr Robert Redfield, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Dr Stephen Hahn who leads the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The three agencies lead the US efforts to fight back the disease, which is also known as Covid-19. All three are members of the White House coronavirus task force.

Dr Fauci told CNN on Saturday that he had begun a “modified quarantine” after what he called a “low risk” contact. Representatives for Dr Redfield and Dr Hahn confirmed that the two officials were observing self-quarantine.

On Saturday, US officials confirmed that a personal assistant to Ivanka Tru­mp, President Donald Trump’s daughter, has tested positive for coronavirus. This was the third infection in the White House in less than a week.

Other two were Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller and a US Navy person deputed at the White House as President Trump’s personal valet. Both tested positive earlier this week.

Now President Trump, Mr Pence, their staffers, and journalists who attend their briefings or travel with them are tested daily to stop the spread of the virus in the White House.

Meanwhile, an international financial agency, Moody’s Analytics, has identified 100 US cities that are poised to recover quickly from this disease.

The report claimed that the recovery would be faster in areas away from traditional centers of the US economy, such as New York or Chicago. The cities identified in the report as the new power centers include San Jose, California; Durham, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; Seattle; and Minneapolis.

The report said that population density and educational attainment will play a key role in determining which cities came out of the crisis first.

The report pointed out that during the previous global financial crisis, big cities with large populations were the first to come out of recession but this time smaller cities would lead the way. This’s because cities with large populations would take longer to get rid of the disease and had higher risks of recurrence, the report added.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2020