Currents News Staff
The U.S. is on heightened alert following the first two deaths from the coronavirus in the country. The White House coronavirus task force is expressing “great concern” there will be more person-to-person transmissions of the disease on American soil.
“My concern is as next week or two go by, we’re going to see a lot more community-related cases,” explained Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
One of the men was a resident at a long-term care facility in Kirkland, Washington, where officials are monitoring a possible outbreak.
Also in Washington state, and nearby Oregon, a handful of schools are closed for cleaning after people either tested positive for the virus, or are undergoing testing.
“Everyone’s been extra cautious, extra hand washing,” explained Lanie Kelly, a parent in the region.
These are just the latest precautions being taken following an increase in cases across the U.S., and thousands are being monitored, tested or under some type of quarantine across the country.
To date, over 80 cases have been reported in the U.S., including the first known case in New York City — a 39-year-old woman who had been working in Iran and returned to New York by plane Feb. 25.
March 2, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo held a joint press conference where they provided additional information regarding the case and said that the risk of coronavirus in the city remains low.
According to Gov. Cuomo, the woman — a healthcare worker — was aware of the situation and the potential for the spread of the virus, and for that reason did not take public transportation during her travels.
“We don’t believe that she was contagious when she was on the plane or when she took a private car from the airport to her residence, but out of an abundance of caution, we will be contacting the people who were on the flight with her from Iran to New York and the driver of that car service,” he explained.
The healthcare worker’s spouse also traveled with her from Iran and is being tested as well. “We are assuming that he would be positive given the circumstances, and he has been following the same protocols that she has been following,” Gov. Cuomo added.
Now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are negotiating a multi-billion dollar spending package to deal with the virus on a national scale.
Democrats have blasted President Trump for his handling of the virus, at times contradicting the Centers for Disease Control and other medical experts on the severity.
“I think the administration was slow to react in the beginning,” said Democratic Senator Doug Jones of Alabama. “I don’t know if it was just denying the science or what. I think they’re doing a lot more to try and get a handle on this.”