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WHO Considers Calling Coronavirus Global Emergency, Death Toll Rises to 17


President Trump said Americans need not worry about being infected with the deadly new coronavirus, as the death toll rises to 17 around the world and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirm the first case in the US. 

The World Health Organization is meeting to discuss whether to declare it a global health emergency as they did with Ebola, Swine Flu, Zika and two other coronaviruses: SARS and MERS.

When asked if he was worried about the outbreak, which has sickened nearly 500 people, becoming a global pandemic, President Trump said from Davos, Switzerland, where he was speaking at the World Economic Forum, "No, not at all." 

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine," he said.

The president continued, "We do have a plan and we think it's going to be handled very well. We've already handled it very well. The CDC has been terrific. Really great professionals. We're in very good shape. I think China's in very good shape also."

The CDC reports incoming airline passengers from Wuhan, China, where the virus originated, are being routed through five major airports in New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, where they are being screened for the virus.  

Last week, before the airline screenings began, a Seattle man returned from Wuhan. He reported feeling fine upon his arrival, but days later began experiencing flu-like symptoms and sought medical attention. He alerted health care professionals of his recent trip to Wuhan. Because of that, his sample was sent to the CDC where it tested positive for the new coronavirus.  

The CDC says the patient is in his thirties and is being kept in hospital isolation. Meanwhile the CDC is investigating the health of people with whom the man may have been in contact since his arrival in the US. 

"Corona" is Latin for "crown." Scientists can recognize the many various corona viruses by their distinctive "points" resembling those on a crown. Scientists have never before seen this newest corona virus. Therefore, they don't know yet whether it's a relatively mild one, such as the common cold, or a more virulent strain such as SARS, which kills approximately 10 percent of people who get it, or MERS, which carries a 35 percent death rate among people who contract it. 

Health officials believe the outbreak began at a seafood market in Wuhan, where the virus likely was transmitted from an animal to a human. Later human-to-human cases were confirmed. 

The virus can be transmitted by breathing particles in the air or via personal contact such as touching the virus on a hard surface and ingesting it. Therefore, health officials advise frequent hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds and wearing face masks in high risk areas. Other preventive measures include strengthening your immune system which can involve getting plenty of rest and eating diet rich in vegetables and fruits while avoiding processed foods.

Symptoms of the new coronavirus infection mirror those of a cold or flu: cough, sore throat, fever, however the main risk factor is having been to China or having been exposed to someone who has been there. The CDC is advising US health care workers to ask patients about their travel history and if patients are at risk, their samples can be sent to the CDC for diagnosis within 24 hours.  The CDC is in the process of distributing coronavirus diagnostic testing supplies to health care providers for on-site testing.


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