US coronavirus cases rise; first deaths earlier than officials realized

Sunday, 08 Mar, 2020

The U.S. death toll from coronavirus infections rose to 11 on Wednesday as new cases emerged around New York City and Los Angeles, while Seattle-area health officials discouraged social gatherings amid the nation's largest outbreak.

An Amazon spokesperson on Tuesday said an employee who worked in a building on the company's campus in Seattle had tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

"In Washington state, officials at King County, which includes Seattle and in which the majority of the deaths have happened, said they had been buying an 85-bed motel to home patients stricken with the virus".

All but one of those deaths were in Washington.

"If you are presenting symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or had recent worldwide travel, please contact your healthcare provider", the county said.

"School closures have been part of the pandemic response kit for a long time", said Dr Jeff Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County. "We are working with our state and federal partners to limit the impacts of this disease to our community, but we need the public's help as well".

California reported its first coronavirus-related death on Wednesday, marking the 11 death from the respiratory illness nationwide, and the first outside of Washington state. The announcement was made after health officials in the most affected USA state instructed all workplaces to allow staff to work from isolation. Cuomo told a news conference that the total would likely "keep going up". Last week, it was announced that the patient showing the first case of community spread was being treated at the UC Davis Medical Center in the city of Sacramento.

The two states have the most cases of the new coronavirus nationwide, with 32 in Washington and 45 in California.

Multiple postings on different social media platforms claimed Turlock had several confirmed cases of coronavirus, all of which were untrue. This case is included in the 13 new cases being reported today.

More than $3 billion of the approved funds would be devoted to research and development of coronavirus vaccines, test kits and treatments.

USA health officials said Tuesday that they "expect to find more cases". A spokesperson for Inslee was not able to confirm where the vice president would visit in the state.

The state of emergency declaration will allow the state to obtain more money from the federal government to contain the outbreak, according to a state health official.

"Right now, we are deferring to the judgment ..." Most who contract it recover but it can develop into pneumonia-like symptoms and the elderly and those with health problems are at particular risk.

Global equity markets tumbled as coronavirus cases outside China mounted, fuelling warnings that economic growth is likely to reach its weakest level since the global financial crisis a decade ago. The main US stock indexes closed down more than 3% on Thursday, with the Dow falling 969 points.