Washington state health officials reported a second coronavirus-related death has occurred in the United States [The Guardian]. There have been 10 cases reported in King County, and 4 of the new cases reported were residents at a Kirkland nursing facility, which is being closely monitored.  In total, 5 residents and one staff member tested positive for the virus, while more than 50 others exhibited respiratory symptoms.  The Washington state nursing home, Life Care Center of Kirkland, has about 108 residents and 180 staff members. Officials reported that about 27 residents and 25 staff members had respiratory symptoms or had been hospitalized with respiratory conditions including pneumonia and were being tested for coronavirus. It was not immediately clear when those test results would be released.

The first coronavirus death in the US was confirmed in Washington state on Saturday. The second death was a man in his 70s with an underlying health condition who died at the nursing home. The other cases include a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 70s. All three have underlying health conditions, and were reportedly in “critical condition.”

Coronavirus cases.

The US has confirmed approximately 60 cases of the severe respiratory illness to date. In contrast, the World Health Organization has reported that 85,000 people have been sickened and more than 2,800 have died worldwide. The vast majority of cases have been in China, but the virus is spreading, seriously affecting international travel, business, sporting and cultural events. Most coronavirus infections result in mild symptoms but some can lead to pneumonia. Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses, are vulnerable. Officials think the virus spreads mainly through coughs or sneezes.

CDC guidance.

The executive director of the nursing facility, Ellie Basham, made a statement declaring adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, including proper hand-washing technique; and the use of masks, gloves and gowns when caring for patients with symptoms.  A team of 10 officials from the CDC are in Washington to work with local health experts, and anyone who visited the life care center over the last few weeks, including firefighters and police officers who have been quarantined, as well as a group of nursing students who are awaiting instructions from officials and are being closely followed, but are presently asymptomatic.

Recovery does occur.

In January, Washington state reported the first case of coronavirus in the US when a man in his 30s was admitted to a hospital in Everett after returning from central China. He has since recovered. As of Sunday, 12 people in Washington state had tested positive, officials said.

Warnings are serious.

Many people, including some top tier government officials, are downplaying the Coronavirus making the public believe it is not worse than the flu. Some might forget that more than 1,300 people died in the United States from influenza as reported in December 2019, representing the seriousness of this communicable disease as a comparison.  Younger people tend to believe they will not contract the Coronavirus because of the way the disease has presented so far.  While it may not be as deadly in this age group, it does have serious respiratory health complications. The virus presents with a dry cough, fever and breathing problems, which may not be alarming during the winter months in the United States at the peak of cold and flu season.  Measures should be taken as soon as someone feels ill such as limited exposure to other people and large groups, taking time to rest and eat nutritious foods, and undertaking proper hygienic measures to combat the potential spread of the virus.

Public concerns.

United States political platforms are using the virus as a means to incite voters to vote for a candidate they believe will be able to handle similar community health problems in the United States.  The travel industry, and business world are on edge, as the world wades through the crisis at hand and the public is not sure of their rights under federal reactions to a pandemic situation.  The people of the United States need powerful guidance from public health organizations and government agencies, and must act with patience and awareness to navigate toward reduced health risks from the Coronavirus.

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