The coronavirus crossed an important milestone Wednesday, when officials from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a case in Northern California of unknown origin.
While all prior cases connected to the epicenter of the outbreak in China, the infected patient receiving treatment in Sacramento County doesn’t. For each case of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, officials investigate the recent history of the patient. They found no interaction with persons recently returned from areas impacted with high concentration.
Therefore, they determined the case to be the first instance of community spread.
In other words, the coronavirus outbreak has begun infecting individuals within the general population.
To date, confirmed COVID-19 cases total 83,867. Deaths number 2,867, while recoveries amount to 36,686. The vast majority of those are in China. US cases account for only 60 infections, and so far no deaths.
Countries employ various efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Airport testing and quarantine sites establish a first defense, but the CDC warned more US transmissions are likely. They advised hospitals and businesses to prepare.
Coronavirus Prompts White House Response
The national response from the Trump administration included appointing Vice President Mike Pence to oversee prevention efforts. While Pence spoke to various bipartisan officials, he also continues to fundraise for Trump’s reelection campaign. Presently, he visits Florida for a number of Republican fundraising events.
Though, a “Florida coronavirus response meeting” was added among the fundraising engagement to his schedule.
Critics point to an HIV outbreak during his tenure as governor of Indiana. Studies into government response found the lag time resulted in substantially more infections. Pence initially opposed a measure to introduce needle exchange programs despite the CDC’s urging.
A whistleblower also sounded the alarm regarding the evacuation procedure to return US citizens from China. They stated the Department of Health and Human Services sent untrained, unequipped individuals to facilitate the evacuation.
Compounding criticism, another news story this week revealed the White House is requiring health officials to coordinate all dissemination of information with Pence prior to release.
Meanwhile, global markets take a hit as the coronavirus impacts trade. Yesterday, outbreak speculation led to the biggest stock market drop since the financial crisis in 2008.
COVID-19 continues to be an evolving story, as government and health officials scramble to prepare.