It seemed like it was only a matter of time.
Even before the first U.S. case of a novel coronavirus that’s broken out in China was confirmed Tuesday, American health officials and hospitals were braced to respond. Hospitals and clinics were adapting their screening protocols to ask about travel to Wuhan, the city where the spread has been centered. State health departments were relaying messages to local providers, alerting them to be on the lookout for the infection’s symptoms. Labs were set to collect patient samples and ship them off for diagnostic testing.