The COVID-19 virus is a new pathogen that is highly contagious, can spread quickly, and must be considered capable of causing enormous health, economic and societal impacts in any setting. It is not SARS and it is not influenza. Building scenarios and strategies only on the basis of well-known pathogens risks failing to exploit all possible measures to slow transmission of the COVID-19 virus, reduce disease and save lives.
(U//FOUO) California State Warning Center Situation Cell Incident Report 2020 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) February 9, 2020
Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including whether and how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus. Investigations are ongoing to learn more, but some degree of person-to-person spread of 2019-nCoV is occurring. It is not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. While CDC considers this as a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time.