Officials in the United States are urging the public to remain calm as the novel coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, continues to spread through the U.S.
At least six people in the U.S. have died from the new disease, with four of those deaths occurring in a nursing home near Seattle and two others dying in the same county. At least 105 cases have been confirmed in 15 states with officials in New Hampshire and Georgia announcing cases Tuesday morning. However, officials have warned that the number of cases in the U.S. is likely to be much higher than that as test packets are shipped to health centers across the country.
Worldwide, more than 900 new cases were reported, bringing the total confirmed cases to more than 89,000. The death toll also climbed, with at least 3,118 people having died from the disease, with more than 2,900 of those occurring in mainland China. Iran has reported the next highest number of deaths, at 66, with Italy reporting 52 and 28 in South Korea.
The U.S. surgeon general tried to calm fears that have unsettled markets and sent people to the stores to stock up on supplies.
"We should be cautious and take appropriate measures to prepare and protect ourselves, but we should not be afraid," Surgeon General Jerome Adams said. "We've been through this before, and no place in the world is better prepared to handle this challenge."
Adams also reiterated that healthy people did not need to purchase items like masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus, saying that only created a shortage for the healthcare professionals who really need them.
"They don’t provide you respiratory protection against diseases like coronavirus," he said. "They protect others from your cough."
Outbreaks in South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan continue to grow, however, the rate of new infections appears to have slowed in China, where draconian measures were taken to slow the spread of the disease. Government officials in South Korea say they've declared a "war against infectious disease" with South Korea President Moon Jae-in calling the outbreak a 'grave situation.'
More than 5,000 people in South Korea have tested positive for COVID-19, with as many as 28 people dying from the disease. That's the most outside mainland China.
Another 2,000 cases have been confirmed in Italy, where 52 people have reportedly died. Quarantines in 11 northern towns have also been imposed in an effort to stem the spread there.
Symptoms of the novel coronavirus include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Infections can also get worse, with patients experiencing pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and/or death. Health officials say the best way to avoid catching the coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly at least five times a day and avoid touching your face or eyes.
Photo: Getty Images