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CDC flu pandemic plans hint at the playbook for a new coronavirus outbreak

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CDC headquarters by James Gathany

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is preparing for the possibility that the new coronavirus will spread through the United States — and it’s using its guidelines for pandemic influenza as a starting point. The new coronavirus isn’t influenza, so the recommendations probably won’t match what may happen during a coronavirus outbreak. But they’re a useful starting place for US public health agencies.

“Because we have done a lot of planning around pandemic influenza, we have a good head start. But we need to look at the plans and see how the current situation might alter them,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, during a press call at the beginning...

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