New York State officials are urging residents to be cautious after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state has its first documented case of coronavirus.
Cuomo initially made the announcement in a tweet on March 1st. He later confirmed in a March 2nd press conference which explained that a 39-year-old health care worker who recently returned to New York from Iran tested positive for coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19.
Cuomo went on to say the infected woman did not take any public transportation, and that officials do not believe she was contagious at the time she traveled back to the United States on Tuesday, February 25. Her husband was also with her on this trip. The couple is currently quarantined inside their home as she battles mild respiratory issues and he undergoes testing.
Cuomo says there is “no doubt” that more positive cases of coronavirus will come up in New York state.
“It wasn’t a question of ‘if,’ it was a question of ‘when,'” Cuomo said. “This is New York, we’re a gateway to the world. You see all these cases around the world, around the country — of course we’re going to have it here.”
Now, the biggest challenge for New York state is testing as many people as possible in hopes of containing the spread. The Wadsworth Center, a world-renowned lab located in Albany, is working with hospitals to expand testing capacity to 1,000 coronavirus tests per day statewide. The state is also instituting new cleaning protocols at schools and in public transportation systems in an effort to stop any potential spread.
Cuomo says New York residents should take precautions, but shouldn’t panic over this positive case of coronavirus.
“This isn’t our first rodeo,” Cuomo tweeted on March 2nd. “We are fully coordinated, fully mobilized, and fully prepared to deal with this situation as it develops.”
Cuomo requested a $40 million appropriation for the New York State Department of Health to hire additional staff and other necessary resources for coronavirus testing and prevention. He also announced a new directive requiring New York health insurers to waive cost-sharing associated with coronavirus testing.
While this is New York state’s first confirmed case of coronavirus, it’s not the first case confirmed in the United States. Currently, there are 102 confirmed cases in the United States. The latest information available says six people in Washington state have died from the virus.
The United States is restricting travel to certain countries in response to the rise in coronavirus cases around the globe. These countries include China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. Approximately one billion U.S. passengers fly every year, and travel restrictions are put in place to help protect fliers from exposure.
These travel restrictions come as countries across the world try to contain the spread of coronavirus. The latest information shows there are more than 90,000 confirmed cases around the globe. More than 80,000 of those cases are in Mainland China, where the virus was first reported in December 2019. More than 3,000 people across the world have died from the virus, and a majority of those deaths happened in China.
Governments around the world are urging citizens to remain calm and stay diligent during this time, given all the information coming out about the outbreak. This includes the United States government. Almost 80% of Americans claim to experience daily stress, and the news of coronavirus spreading could add on to their stress. However, there are precautions that can be taken. People are urged to wash their hands and practice good hygiene to help limit the spread.
In addition to impacting public health, the coronavirus outbreak is also impacting the global economy. The stock market saw its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis in the midst of the outbreak. Companies are trying to figure out what’s happening with their overseas manufacturing and supply and demand chains. People are even speculating that a recession is looming, but no information regarding that speculation is confirmed.
The global travel industry has been hit hard by the outbreak, and the seafood industry is being disrupted as well. The United States ranks as the third-largest consumer of seafood in the world after China and Japan. Regions along the west coast in the U.S. rely heavily on the seafood trade with China. One of those regions is Washington state. It’s reported that seafood sales to China from Washington state have gone down since the outbreak, although it’s not clear by how much.
If you’re worried about the spread of coronavirus, there are preventative steps you can take. The CDC recommends washing your hands diligently and cleaning high touch surfaces frequently. It’s also recommended that you avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth, as well as covering a cough or sneeze with a tissue.