U.S. preps for a pandemic as COVID-19 claims 6 lives in Washington state

The number of coronavirus cases continues to climb in the U.S.  The new disease has killed six people in the country, four from one nursing home near Seattle and two others in the same county. The cluster of deaths at the nursing facility in King County highlights the serious threat the disease poses to the elderly and infirm. There were just over 100 cases in 15 states as of Tuesday morning, with New Hampshire and Georgia being the most recent to join the battle against the virus.

One of the nation’s top virus experts told CBS News Monday that the COVID-19 disease, which can be transmitted by people who don’t even show symptoms, could spread to 70% of the world’s population. Schools and hospitals across the U.S. have begun preparing for a potential pandemic.

While officials acknowledge the threat posed by the virus, both the Trump administration and the World Health Organization continue to say it’s a manageable threat.

The top government economists from the U.S. and the world’s six other biggest economies were to hold a conference call Tuesday to try and craft a unified response to the disease, which has already had a massive impact on stock markets and corporate financial outlooks.   

Globally, outbreaks in South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan have continued growing fast, but draconian control measures in epicenter country China appeared to be paying off. China’s daily rate of new infections continued to fall Tuesday, showing it is possible to contain the disease, even in the hardest-hit communities.

Epidemiologist predicts effects of coronavirus in the months ahead

But with more than 90,000 people infected and 3,100 killed by COVID-19, exactly what measures can and should be implemented to rein in the virus in societies less-strictly controlled than China remained unclear. As WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday, “we are in unchartered territory.” 

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