LOS ANGELES — Roughly 50 million people are under quarantine in China. Thousands of travelers are being screened at airports every day. Armies of disease detectives are knocking on doors around the world in hopes of halting the new coronavirus in its tracks.
Despite all the colossal efforts to contain the virus, scientists are quietly preparing for a grim — and increasingly likely — outcome: A full-blown global pandemic.
Since the novel virus was isolated in December in the Chinese megacity of Wuhan, the pathogen has reached four continents and infected more than 24,000 people. At least 493 of them have died as a result. With the outbreak continuing to expand, authorities acknowledge that efforts will soon shift from trying to squelch the coronavirus to learning to live with it.
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