US warned to prepare as COVID cases rise in Europe
NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. health experts were preparing this weekend for the potential threat of a new coronavirus if the country doesn’t quickly get tough to halt its growing infection rate.
The warning came Thursday from President Donald Trump, who called the virus a “bad bug” after it spread beyond China’s borders. The president warned that the virus is “killing people and it is killing quickly,” but said health officials are already working to contain it.
The United States now has nearly one to two cases a day, the highest in the world, CNN reported.
In Europe, as the coronavirus outbreak spreads, the number of new infections daily has soared this month, from 3,000 on March 8 to more than 7,000 on March 21, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
The virus has caused a global shortage of tests and killed more than 10,000 people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 120 people have died in Italy and Spain and there are 15 confirmed cases in Britain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday it detected a novel coronavirus in Illinois in March, and that it is awaiting confirmation from the CDC.
The Department of Health and Human Services warned last month that if the nation didn’t use social distancing to protect residents, the virus could overwhelm hospitals and care facilities and potentially cause widespread disease, according to a Reuters report.
As the virus started to spread in Italy, Health Secretary Jacob J. Aznar on Saturday visited the coronavirus treatment center in the southern town of Piacenza to check on plans and to discuss the country’s response with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte as he called for increased European assistance.
The CDC said Thursday that the virus “has infected more than a quarter million people and killed more than 100 in the U.S., along with some 200,000 worldwide.”