SEATTLE (AP) – Health officials in Washington state said Sunday night that a second person had died of the coronavirus, a man in his 70s from a nursing facility near Seattle where dozens of people were sick and they had been tested for the virus.
The researchers said earlier that the virus may have been circulating for weeks without being detected in the state of Washington.
In a statement, Public Health – Seattle and King County said the man died on Saturday. On Friday, health officials said a man in his 50s died of coronavirus. Both had underlying health problems, and both were being treated at a hospital in Kirkland, Washington, east of Seattle.
The state of Washington now has 12 confirmed cases.
State and local authorities stepped up tests to detect the disease as the number of new cases grew across the country, with new infections announced in California, Illinois, Rhode Island, New York and the state of Washington.
Authorities in the Seattle area reported four new cases on Sunday night, including the man who died. Two health workers in California were also diagnosed. Of the new cases in the state of Washington, two were women, one in their 80s and one in their 90s. Both were in critical condition. A man in his 70s was also in critical condition. All three were from the LifeCare nursing center in Kirkland, Washington, where health officials said 50 people are sick and are being tested for the virus.
On Sunday night, the International Firefighters Association said that 25 members who responded to calls for help at the nursing facility are in quarantine.
The first case of the USA UU. He was a man from the state of Washington who visited China, where the virus first emerged, but several recent cases in the US. UU. They have not had a known connection with travelers.
In California, two health workers in the San Francisco Bay area who took care of a previous coronavirus patient were diagnosed with the virus on Sunday, Alameda and Solano counties said in a joint statement.
Health workers are employed at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville, California, and had exposure to a patient treated there before being transferred to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, according to the statement. That patient was the first person in the USA. UU. Discovered that he contracted the coronavirus without known trips abroad.
Alameda County declared a state of emergency on Sunday after the news.
In Oregon, the state Health Authority said Sunday that a second person in the state tested positive for the virus. The person is an adult in family contact with the first Oregonian to test positive and does not need medical attention, the authority said.
Elsewhere, authorities announced on Sunday a third case in Illinois and the first cases of Rhode Island and New York, as worried Americans swarmed around stores to stock up on commodities such as bottled water, canned food and toilet paper.
The patient hospitalized in Rhode Island is a man in his 40s who traveled to Italy in February. New York confirmed on Sunday that a woman in her 30s contracted the virus while traveling through Iran. The patient is not in serious condition. He has respiratory symptoms and has been in a controlled situation since his arrival in New York, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
As the consequences continued, Vice President Mike Pence and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, tried to reassure the American public that the federal government is working to ensure that state and local authorities can detect the virus. Both said during a round of television show appearances on Sunday that thousands more test kits had been distributed to state and local officials, with thousands more to come.
“They should know that we have the best public health system in the world to monitor them,” said Azar, adding that additional cases will be reported and that the overall risk to Americans is low.
As the cases progressed, some Americans supplied basic supplies, particularly in areas with diagnosed cases, and began to take note of the impact on daily life. Stores like Costco sold toilet paper, bottled water and hand sanitizer outside Portland, Oregon, where a case was announced on Friday. Sports games and practices were canceled in the next school week. Some churches said they would not offer communion for fear of viral spread.
While the Americans were preparing, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington said Sunday they had evidence that the virus could have been circulating in the state for up to six weeks without being detected, a finding that, If true, it could mean hundreds of undiagnosed cases in the area. They published their research online, but it was not published in a scientific journal or reviewed by other scientists.
Trevor Bedford, an associate professor who announced the preliminary findings about the virus in Washington state, said on Twitter on Saturday night that genetic similarities between the state’s first case on January 20 and a case announced on Friday indicated that the newer case could have descended from the previous one. one. The case of January 20 was the first known case in the US. UU.
“I think we are facing an already considerable outbreak in the state of Washington that has not been detected so far due to the limited definition of the case that requires a direct trip to China,” he said on Twitter.
Bedford did not immediately respond to an email requesting an interview on Sunday.
Scientists not affiliated with the research said the results did not necessarily surprise them and pointed out that for many people, especially the youngest and healthiest, the symptoms are not much worse than the flu or the cold.
“We believe that this has a fairly high rate of mild symptoms and may be asymptomatic. The symptoms are quite nonspecific and the test criteria have been quite strict, so those combinations of factors mean that it could easily have been circulating for a while without we know, “said Justin Lessler, associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Adam Lauring of the University of Michigan called the “high quality work” findings of scientists who have done similar work with the flu virus for years.
“They show their data and show their work,” Lauring said. “It’s more than a series of tweets” because researchers support what they found with the data they shared online. “If there is something wrong, someone will find it.”
Dr. Carlos del Río, from the Emory University School of Medicine, said the findings are from respected researchers in genomic sequencing and make sense due to the geographical proximity of the two cases.
“This is a good time to reinforce the things we should all be doing to stop the spread of the flu. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. If you have a cold, stay home … It’s a good time to remember ourselves of that, “he said.
Pence, appointed by the president as the key person who oversees the government’s response, said more than 15,000 virus test kits had been released over the weekend. And, the administration is working with a commercial provider to distribute 50,000 more, he said.
The vice president said the tests were one of the first problems raised by the governors he has spoken with so far. Several states have started their own tests, including the state of Washington, Oregon and Illinois.
“We are leaning towards that,” Pence said.
Azar said that more than 3,600 people have already been tested for coronaviruses and that there is the ability to evaluate 75,000 people. He predicted a “radical expansion of that” in the coming weeks.
Pence and Azar spoke a day after President Donald Trump approved new restrictions on international travel to prevent the spread within the US. UU. Of the new virus, which originated in China. There are now more than 80,000 cases worldwide and around 3,000 deaths.
The number of known cases of coronaviruses in the US UU. He had reached at least 80 on Sunday, counting people evacuated from a cruise ship and the city of Wuhan in China.
Trump said Saturday at a White House press conference that he was thinking of closing the southern border with Mexico as a precaution. Azar said on Sunday that Mexico has few cases of coronaviruses and that a dramatic change in circumstances would be needed to cause serious consideration of border closure.
The president, said Azar, “was trying to say that everything is on the table.”
“We will take the appropriate and necessary measures to protect the American people, but we do not predict that we will do so soon,” he said of the border closure.
Despite Trump and Pence’s calls for political unity against the viral threat, the issue has been embroiled in partisan resentment in Washington, and both Republicans and Democrats accuse each other of exploiting the issue for political purposes.