Two people have now died from the coronavirus in the United States, both in the state of Washington. Both patients were male, had underlying health conditions, and one was in his 50s while the other was in his 70s. However, one of these cases poses an immediate threat to others at his place of residence. The man in his 70s resided at a long-term nursing home in King County called Life Care Center. The facility houses 108 residents and employs 180 staff members. He was one of four confirmed cases at Life Care Center. Over 50 people at the facility are falling ill and getting tested for COVID-19. Unfortunately, I expect we’ll hear about more cases and possibly deaths from this location.
Total Number of Coronavirus Cases in the United States
As of Monday, March 2, 2020, a total of 10 states report confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. Over the leap-day weekend, the number of new cases rose by two dozen. This brings the CDC’s number of confirmed and presumed positive cases to 91. However, this number does not include those who returned to the United States on flights chartered by the State Department.
Potential for a ‘Hidden Cluster’
With the two deaths over the weekend in King County, some scientists feel the coronavirus could have spread much farther in Washington state than previously believed. They think these two deaths are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s possible that hundreds of people in King County could already be exposed and not yet know it. This is because COVID-19 symptoms are very similar to that of colds and the flu. However, this research has not been peer-reviewed so we can’t say the existence of a ‘hidden cluster’ is 100% accurate. Now, I know this sounds dark and dismal to think there could be unsuspecting infected persons living among us. But, please keep in mind that the majority of people who get the disease, around 80%, end up with only a mild respiratory illness and then recover.
The U.S. Surgeon General says, ‘STOP BUYING MASKS!’
The United States Surgeon General took to social media over the weekend to urge people to STOP BUYING MASKS! They want to stress that not only are they ineffective at stopping COVID-19 for the general public, but they may actually increase your risk of contracting the virus. This is because people are not used to wearing masks so they wind up messing with them to adjust the fit. This means people will be touching their face, eyes, nose, and mouth way more than they otherwise would be to adjust their mask. Instead of wearing a mask, wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes as much as possible. Leave the masks to the healthcare professionals who need them while they’re in direct contact with sick patients.