US coronavirus death toll rises to six, all in Washington State
The number of United States deaths from the novel coronavirus increased to six on Monday, all in the state of Washington, officials declared, signaling the virus has taken root in the Pacific Northwest.
US Vice President Mike Pence announced treatment for the disease in the summer or early fall, but the vaccine was far from over. Pence, the administration’s point man for the crisis, also said the government was moving to screen 100 percent of passengers flying in from Italy and South Korea, two serious virus hot zones.
Five of the six American deaths have been from King county, the most crowded in Washington state and home to Seattle, a city of more than 700,000 people. The sixth victim was from neighboring Snohomish County, officials said.
“We’re all at increased risk of getting infected,” said Jeff Duchin, a King County health officer. “While most cases will be mild or moderate, an infection can be a cause of serious illness and many people are likely to become ill at the same time.”
The state reported four new cases, three from the same nursing home, taking the total figure of US cases to more than 90 – about half of which were people must have come from a virus-stricken cruise ship from either China or Japan.
Dow Constantine, the top official in King County, said his office was in talks to purchase a motel in which to place people who needed isolation, adding: “We have to go to a new phase in the fight to stop or reduce this virus and destroy it completely.”
Pence told reporters at the White House that treatment for the virus “may be available this summer, or early fall.” He was referring to the drug Remedisvir, an antiviral drug developed by the pharmaceutical company Gilead that has already been used to treat an American patient and is moving towards two last-stage expander clinical trials in Asia. Corona News
There are many vaccines and treatments under development, but Remedisavir is closest to market availability. Pence said that American pharmaceutical companies had formed a consortium to work together and collect information to develop these drugs.
The new travel protocol “will ensure that anyone traveling on a direct flight to the United States receives multiple screenings at all airports in Italy and South Korea,” he said. Italy has had 1,700 cases and South Korea has had 4,000. The United States is also drastically expanding its diagnostic efforts after coming under fire for not testing enough.
Stephen Hahn, head of the Food and Drug Administration, said, “The estimates we are getting from the industry at the moment will be about a million trials by the end of this week.”
In New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo warned it was “inevitable” that the virus would spread in the global financial hub after its first confirmed case was detected in a health care worker who had visited Iran. “There is no doubt that there will be more problems. This is New York – we’re a gateway to the world,” Cuomo told journalists. “People are going to test positive, not just one or two or three or five, there will be many who test positive,” he continued.
Cuomo said the 39-year-old woman who tested positive at the weekend had mild signs and was recovering in isolation at home. Her husband is still expected to test positive as well.Globally, more than 3,100 people have died as a result of the virus, the huge majority of them in China. More than 90,000 people have been infected, with cases listed in more than 60 countries.