(Natural News) Attempts by administration officials to tamp down coronavirus fears dwindle on Tuesday as the United States coronavirus death toll rises to nine with other states confirming additional cases of infection. The development caused lawmakers to express doubts about how the government plans to ramp up their virus testing fast enough to deal with the ongoing crisis.
All of the people who died are from Washington state, with a majority of them being residents of a nursing home in suburban Seattle. As of writing, Pandemic.news reports the total infection count in the United States has shot past 100, with cases spread out across 13 states. (Related: CDC finally reports “possible” outbreak of the coronavirus, urges Americans to prepare to deal with a community spread.)
“What is happening now in the United States may be the beginning of what is happening abroad,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Messonnier noted that in China — considered ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak — older and sickly people are twice as likely to develop a more serious infection with the COVID-19 virus compared to those who are much younger and healthier.
According to authorities, this particular nursing home outbreak started in North Carolina, where a Wake Country resident who had recently visited the nursing home tested positive for coronavirus. However, North Carolina’s government officials claimed that the resident has decided to go into self-isolation at home and is doing well.
Further, in suburban Seattle, the Associated Press reports that a group of 27 firefighters and paramedics who responded to calls at the nursing home were tested for the virus on Tuesday. One of the firefighters, Kevin Grimstad, was among the 10 people from the Kirkland Fire Department who exhibited symptoms after dealing with calls from the nursing facility.
“It’s crazy. A couple of weeks ago, it seemed like a foreign thing and now we’re getting tested,” Grimstad said. “If I was exposed a month ago, the problem is more widespread than we know.”
Online classes amid coronavirus scare
After the recent announcement of the rising death toll, schools within the Seattle area started to consider teaching their students in online classes in the event of prolonged school closures due to the virus, as reported by the Associated Press. While local and state health officials claim that they did not recommend these schools to close down or cancel their planned activities, they still respected the decisions of the local school leaders.
As tensions rise, the Eastside Preparatory private school in Kirkland claims that it plans to have their students stay at home and do their classes online in light of the ongoing virus outbreak. The school — consisting of about 500 students from grades five through 12 — reportedly has no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 but school officials claim that they “do not feel it is prudent to wait until there is a known case to take action.” The school plans to start their online class program on March 27.
Meanwhile, the Northshore School District — which has an estimated 22,000 students located just north of the Seattle area — decided to close down on Tuesday so that their teachers could prepare themselves to teach remotely According to their Superintendent Michelle Reid, the district was also working on ways to help students who do not have access to computers or internet at home.
“What China shows is that early containment and identification of cases can work, but we now need to implement that in other countries,” said Dr. Nathalie MacDermott, an infectious-diseases expert at King’s College London.
As of writing, Natural News estimates more than 350,000 cases of COVID-19 virus infections worldwide, with about 35,000 dead from the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) also reports that the virus has spread to about 72 countries, with Andorra, Jordan, Latvia, Morocco, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Tunisia officially added within the past few days.
Learn more about the ongoing outbreak at Pandemic.news.