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Coronavirus quarantines in U.S. appear inevitable, doctor says

Doctor warns of U.S. coronavirus quarantine
Doctor warns of likely coronavirus quarantines in U.S. 04:03

Amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak, one doctor suggested that Americans worried about quarantines should begin preparing. CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus predicted the question would be "not if but when and where" quarantines will be occurring during an appearance on "CBS This Morning."

"The death rate is very low with this virus. Most people will survive this virus," he said.

Agus advised asking companies what their work from home policy would be, and being aware that children in the household may have to take school from home.

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"Get a week of food, dry food in your house. And be ready for this. There's no reason to panic, we're all going to do fine," he said. "But there's going to be a new way of life, and we have to prepare for that way of life." 

Agus also recommended stocking up on two to three weeks of medicines.

Looking out for possible symptoms is important to figure out if a person should be tested, Agus said. He described "pulmonary symptoms" such as a cough or a cold as signals, both common occurrences during this time of year that should not be cause for alarm unless they worsen.

According to Agus, the majority of people who get the coronavirus experience mild symptoms and so would not have been tested until the CDC recently expanded its criteria for who should be examined.

He explained that the test for coronavirus is specialized because the disease is an "RNA virus" that has to be converted to DNA, which then has to be amplified to be examined.

"It's a complicated test," Agus acknowledged, "Totally doable, but it's new."

He concluded by making "a call for all of us to work together to be part of the solution," highlighting the importance of "not only caring about yourself but your community."

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