'Now is the time': CDC suggests employers devise coronavirus telework plans

"Now is the time" for businesses, schools and others to begin preparing for possible spread of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official said in a Feb. 25 media briefing. Specifically, "businesses can replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options," Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a conference call. For the U.S. general public, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low, according to the CDC's situation summary, but "[t]he potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States." CDC and other public health organizations have been gradually increasing the alarm around the spread of COVID-19. On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a "public health emergency of international concern" and on Jan. 31, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency.

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