Health officials announced a second coronavirus case in California on Friday in which they didn’t know how the person was infected. Earlier, the World Health Organization upgraded the global risk from the outbreak to “very high.”
The virus has disrupted plans for everything from major sports tournaments and concerts to planned U.S. military exercises. The global death toll is now over 2,800, and the disease has made its first worrying appearance in sub-Saharan Africa.
More than 83,000 cases of the COVID-19 disease have now been confirmed in more than 50 countries. While about 36,000 of those people have recovered, fast-growing outbreaks in South Korea, Italy and Iran — along with the first case confirmed in Nigeria — show the battle to contain the virus is still in its early stages. Officials have worried the disease could spread widely in countries with weaker public health systems, specifically in Africa and Latin America. In the U.S., at least 63 people were being treated for COVID-19 as of Thursday, most of them evacuated from Asia. The origin of two cases, both women in California, have been impossible for doctors to trace, leading the CDC to warn the U.S. has likely seen its first case of “community spread.”
The head of the World Health Organization said that kind of transmission, of unknown origin and possibly from the general population, represented the third of four outbreak stages that every nation must be prepared for: “Every country must be ready for its first case, its first cluster, the first evidence of community transmission, and for dealing with sustained community transmission,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“We are not defenseless,” insisted Tedros, urging “every country and every person” to help ensure cases are detected early and that authorities are able to trace contacts, provide care and prevent widespread community transmissions.
Before a Pandemic
Store a two week supply of water and food.
Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference. Get help accessing electronic health records.
Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
During a Pandemic
Limit the Spread of Germs and Prevent Infection
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
About Human Coronavirus (CDC)
Emergency Preparedness & Response (CDC)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)