Coverage of the coronavirus and its subsequent disease continue to dominate the news. City officials announced Friday morning that the first travel-related case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in San Antonio, unrelated to evacuees quarantined at Lackland. There are still no confirmed cases of community spread or person to person transmission, but also very little capacity to test for it.
The coronavirus was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China in December and has now spread to 114 countries with more than 118,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11.
The goal now is to slow the acceleration of this viral outbreak to prevent resources from becoming overwhelmed. Frustrated local leadership and public health officials have been vocal about a lack of communication and resources from the federal government generally but especially related to evacuees quarantined at Lackland Air Force Base.
The global viral outbreak has had a significant negative economic impact as investors worry about its effects on business, trade and travel. Local economies are expected to take a hit due to event cancellations and a downturn in area tourism.
Local colleges and universities have extended spring break to prevent potential community spread within their student bodies. Most professional major league sports organizations have halted their seasons to ensure fans' safety. Shoppers are stockpiling supplies. On Thursday, President Trump announced a travel ban to and from European countries.
What has been the local response and timeline of events related to coronavirus and COVID-19? How are the medical community and education sectors responding to the outbreak? What are area hospitals, schools and businesses doing to protect staff members?
Officials announced Friday that Fiesta will be pushed back to November due to coronavirus concerns. Who is in charge of making these kinds of decisions? What is the potential economic impact of postponing and cancelling major San Antonio events?
When will more coronavirus test kits be available and how will people without insurance be able to afford testing, treatment and time off? Will the fight for paid sick leave be renewed?
How should you prepare for the possibility of a local outbreak? What preventative measures can be taken? If there is community spread of coronavirus in the San Antonio area, what happens next?
- Joey Palacios, covers local government for Texas Public Radio
- Dr. Ruth Berggren, infectious diseases specialist and director of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at UT Health San Antonio
- Bonnie Petrie, Texas Public Radio bioscience and medicine reporter
- Tony Quesada, editor-in-chief for the San Antonio Business Journal
- Camille Phillips, TPR education reporter
*This interview was recorded on Friday, March 13.