Fears continue across the United States as the Coronavirus continues to spread. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency as the number of cases in the state rose to 76. The governor cites the increased mobility of resources and the concerns for a large outbreak in New York City as reasons for the declaration. At the time of this writing, NYC has 11 confirmed cases of COVID19.
In the region, Amtrak discontinued services due to concerns about the virus, or so they said. The company announced that passenger and employee safety is their top concern as reason for the cancellation. It is also worth noting that consumer demand has significantly fallen for the service. While this is a direct result of the concerns with the virus, this is the ultimate reason for the cancellations.
Vice-President Mike Pence was in Florida to discuss concerns with cruise line and port officials. Cruise lines have come under scrutiny amid the outbreak. A Princess Cruise ship was being held off the coast of California while testing was being performed. Multiple people tested positive for the virus on board the ship.
Heading to Florida for a briefing with cruise line executives and port directors. We will be discussing what additional measures our cruise lines should take to ensure the health and safety of the American public.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) March 7, 2020
In statements on Saturday, VP Mike Pence assured the American people that the risk to contracting the disease remains low. While the media continues to hype the virus, it is important to pay attention to the details. You can see Pence’s comments below for his press conference.
VP Mike Pence: "The risk to the American public of contracting the coronavirus remains low." pic.twitter.com/81k6XtE96D
— The Hill (@thehill) March 7, 2020
This chart outlines all of the COVID19 cases worldwide. As you can see, over 80,000 cases are present in China. In 2018, China had over 1.4 billion people living in the country. So for statistical purposes, less than 1% of the Chinese population has contracted the virus. It would certainly sound like more from the typical reporting we hear, but these are actual numbers.
The outbreak initially started in China in December of 2019. Medical experts believe the virus was circulating around the United States for weeks unchecked due to the lack of testing kits. VP Pence has said that over a million tests will be available over the weekend. This will help the speed of testing as many facilities around the country plan for a more widespread outbreak.
While I caution you against the media hype, I encourage you not to take the virus lightly. It can be a dangerous virus, even deadly, but you can take precautions to help. The CDC recommends washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, covering your cough or sneeze and cleaning or disinfecting regularly touched objects. Taking these steps can help protect you and your family against the virus.
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