Latest coronavirus testing and screening measures

ABC News’ chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton shares the latest details about the screening process and how tests are being processed as well as what we know about the virus.
2:13 | 02/28/20

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Transcript for Latest coronavirus testing and screening measures
No question about it. Let's bring in Jen Ashton to answer some questions. We see those measuring being taken because so much is still unknown about the disease. Yeah, exactly, George, everyone likes to say we know this or predict, you know, and in medicine and science we have to go on a lot of past history and don't have it with this virus, we're two months in. We do know this virus has a very high transmission rate. Very easily spread. But it has a low fatality rate right now so when we see something like that, it tends to be more difficult to contain than viruss that are more deadly and it also has the propensity to be personally, you know, not such a big deal. If you were to get it, 80% of people or higher have very mild symptoms. But globally it can be a very big deal. It can be very disrupting. You talk about that transmission rate which gets to the question of testing. What are the guidelines on testing right now. This has been a really dynamic and moving target. Late in the day yesterday the CDC revised its testing guidelines largely in response to that first community acquired case that we saw in California that we just talked about so take a look at part of the new guidelines. Now they say that a person who has a fever and signs and symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, that requires so this is not someone who is at home and also has a recent history of travel in the past two weeks to China, Japan, then they added South Korea, Italy, Iran. That person should be tested for coronavirus. You know, right now and there are two other groups as well. Right now if you walked into an emergency room with a fever and a cough, you would not be screened for coronavirus right now. Perhaps that's going to change. And then the question how are these tests processed? That's also been challenging. Right now there are 12 jurisdictions around the country that have the capability to run these tests locally. But states like New York, Massachusetts, still sending specimens to Atlanta, again, we are two months into this. For some perspective if I need to test you for influenza by pcr, the same test we're doing for coronavirus, that test can be run with the right equipment in one hour. So we need to ramp up and get up to speed with this. That is happening, Jen Ashton, thanks very much. You'll be back with questions on traveling.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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