Fears over the COVID-19 outbreak have reached a new level. The city of San Francisco in California has declared a state of emergency, with health officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today confirming a possible case of infection in California. The Mayor, London Breed, announced the state government’s decision on Tuesday, explaining that it is a “necessary” step to protect residents of the city.
“We see the virus spreading in new parts of the world everyday. We are taking the necessary steps to protect San Franciscans from harm.”
While some may argue that the move is an overreaction, the outbreak does appear to be continuing to spread across borders. Seven new countries have been listed among the affected, including Pakistan, North Macedonia, Georgia, Romania, Greece, Norway, and Brazil—the first South American country to be afflicted. 81,398 cases have been confirmed as of 8am, 27 February 2020.
The decision comes amidst warnings from top health officials in the U.S. that the coronavirus will spread in the U.S. According to Dr Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. is inevitable.
“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when.”
“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad.”
The CDC has also confirmed the first possible case of person-to-person transmission of COVID-109 in California—this particular individual has not had any known contact with any infected individuals through travel or close contact. You can read their statement below:
“At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown. It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States. Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. It’s also possible, however, that the patient may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected”
As of now, there have been 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., although no deaths have been recorded thus far. However, a majority of these cases have been linked to a cruise ship, the Diamond Princess”, that docked in Japan.