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Officials Rush to Respond as Coronavirus Spreads Coast to Coast

03-06-2020
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Fighting the coronavirus (Image: Screen capture)
Fighting the coronavirus (Image: Screen capture)

The coronavirus continues to spread across the globe with nearly 100,000 cases worldwide and more than 3,300 confirmed deaths.

Maryland is the latest state to confirm cases inside its borders as many other states brace for the same.

Off the coast of San Francisco, the Coast Guard dropped off testing kits to the Grand Princess cruise ship to screen potentially infected passengers and crew – 3,500 people are on board. Once the results come in, officials will determine where the ship can berth.

"If we've been exposed, we've been exposed and there's not much we can do about it," says Debbi Loftus a cruise passenger.

In Washington, the state hardest hit with at least 70 people infected and 11 confirmed dead, some schools are sanitizing classrooms daily or closing to prevent the spread.

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And in New York, at least 1,000 people are under self-quarantine, as more cases are being discovered through testing.

"I'm perturbed that people get anxious every time the number goes up. The number has to go up if you continue to test," said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

At the White House on Friday morning, President Trump signed an $8.3 billion measure passed by Congress to tackle the outbreak.

Vice President Mike Pence gave the governor of Washington an elbow bump instead of a handshake during a visit Thursday.

He also visited a 3M facility in Minnesota that has a government contract to manufacture medical masks where he promised the full resources of the federal government are being brought to bear to control the virus. 

He also admitted vulnerabilities. "We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward," Pence said.

And without enough testing kits, local communities are weighing how to respond.

In central Virginia, health officials are developing criteria for testing for the virus.

"There may be people in our community who have mild symptoms who don't meet those criteria who we're not going to test but may actually have the virus," says Danny Avula, Richmond and Henrico public health director.

The virus also continues to cause anxiety on the financial markets. The Dow plunged nearly 1,000 points Thursday and could go lower again today. It's responding to concerns of a global economic slowdown as the virus spreads worldwide.

In Bethlehem, the Church of the Nativity, the place considered by many to be the birthplace of Jesus is closed.

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell explains, "Here in Israel, 17 Israelis have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. As a safeguard the government has quarantined 70,000 people and the Palestinian Authority closed down the Church of the Nativity after an infected tourist visited the site."

There is some good news. The number of cases in South Korea and China is dropping, raising hopes that the virus can be contained.

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Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

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