Columbia U. doctor: Local authorities using 'guesswork' to fight coronavirus

Columbia University clinical professor Dr. Irwin Redlener, a disaster preparedness expert, told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Tuesday that many actions by local authorities in response to the coronavirus outbreak amount to "guesswork" until more guidance is given by federal authorities.

Redlener was discussing the "containment zone" in the town of New Rochelle, N.Y., announced earlier Tuesday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The one-mile-radius zone has been set up around a portion of the town where a cluster of coronavirus infections have materialized.

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According to the New York Post, there have been 108 coronavirus cases in Westchester County, where New Rochelle is located, as of Tuesday.

Redlener said the New Rochelle 'containment zone' is not being placed on lockdown, but is where "very special attention [is] being paid to identifying as many people as possible who have been in contact with the index case, and making sure the contacts are free of disease or evidence of disease."

"There could be a larger zone, I guess, if the governor so chose, and it could be different in other states and other attempts to create areas where we can contain the disease and hopefully get it under control," the doctor added.

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For his part, Cuomo has urged the public to use common sense and take preventative measures against the virus but underlined that there is no reason to downplay the severity of the illness itself.

Redlener warned that New York City, though largely spared from a large-scale outbreak thus far, will not likely be immune for long.

"A lot of the restrictions and public health interventions are pretty much guesswork," he said. "And it is sort of every man for himself, so to speak, what they were doing in Washington [state], in Seattle, is different what they doing in Orlando, New Rochelle, New York City et cetera."

"And what we are looking for now is to really have some definitive firm recommendations from the CDC ... Not 'we recommend this', but 'Here is what we need to do to control this in the country.'," Redlener said.