There are now 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, six of which are in California. The other cases are in Arizona, Illinois, and Washington state. And, to be honest with you, I am concerned that there are more cases here in the U.S. But, I am also confident we will be able to contain this threat.
California Coronavirus Cases
Two of the reported cases involved person-to-person transmissions. One of the new cases involved a husband passing the virus to his wife after he returned from Wuhan, China. He initially did not show any symptoms when he was screened at the San Francisco International Airport. Shortly after, however, he developed a cough and a low-grade fever. His wife then began showing symptoms a few days later.
The other new case in California is now the second in Santa Clara County. According to officials, these two cases are unrelated, as this new case involves a woman who had also visited Wuhan. So far, there are 260 people under investigation by the CDC for the new coronavirus, including the 11 confirmed cases. The good news is that 167 of them have tested negative, meaning only 82 are still pending.
I often get asked by my patients if this virus could affect them. I understand the concern and that people feel the need to protect themselves. You may have seen reports that retailers are selling out of surgeon’s masks. However, these are not tight-fitting and won’t help much to protect you from small airborne particles. The N95 respirators are only effective if you’re trained on how to use them. They can feel claustrophobic, be difficult to wear, and only filter about 95% of airborne particles.
But, the risk to Americans remains low and the CDC does not recommend masks at this time. What is a risk to Americans, however, is the flu. So far about 10,000 people have died this season and that number is rising. So, to really protect yourself from a deadly virus, consider getting a flu shot, and always practice good hygiene when it comes to coughing and sneezing.