Health officials in California are beginning to issue warnings about how the situation in the Golden State could very soon mirror that of Italy if residents don’t obey the state’s “stay at home” lockdown orders for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a recent statement, San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow explained that California is “in a grave crisis,” and “unless everyone does their part and follows the county’s shelter-in-place order and the governor’s Safer at Home order, we will be facing an Italy-type catastrophe very soon.”
While Dr. Morrow was referring specifically to San Mateo county, his words resonate across the state as the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) knows no borders. Dr. Grant Colfax, the Director of the Department of Public Health in nearby San Francisco, echoed these sentiments and those of Dr. Morrow in issuing a similar warning that “the worst is yet to come.”
While there have only been 2,600 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) in California thus far along with 55 confirmed deaths – this compared to Italy’s 69,000 confirmed cases and 6,820 confirmed deaths – some say the situation in California could very quickly become like that of Italy if government orders aren’t followed.
This past Tuesday, California announced 395 new cases of the Chinese Virus (COVID-19) in a single day, compared to 158 new cases the previous Tuesday. There were also 11 new deaths reported this past Tuesday, compared with only three the previous Tuesday.
What this all points to is continued exponential spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), with much more to come if it isn’t contained. And while officials can’t say for sure what the future holds, they worry that even a single asymptomatic “superspreader” could potentially spread it to large amount of people, igniting a second outbreak.
“It’s happening right now in New York,” says Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco about how an Italy-like Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) situation popped up in the Empire State virtually overnight.
“They’re up against it.”
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In Dr. Rutherford’s view, the sudden explosion in new Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Italy is likely due to a failure of the government to act quickly, along with “bad luck.” Currently, Italy’s death toll is more than double what was reported in communist China, though we know China’s numbers were fudged by its dictator, not to mention the fact that Chinese people are reportedly contracting the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a second time.
So, to avoid a similar situation here in America, some health experts are advising continued restrictions on gatherings and public movement in order to prevent a similar explosion in case numbers and associated deaths.
“Don’t underestimate this,” insists Dr. Maurizio Cecconi, president-elect of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine and coauthor of a new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that tracked how the first known case of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) entered Italy from Japan.
“This is not a normal flu,” he adds. “This is serious. The percentage of patients that require intensive care admission is high.”
Those with the highest risk of developing serious complications from the disease are the elderly and those with preexisting conditions, experts say. If the virus ends up settling deep into the lungs, it could cause breathing failure, septic shock, and multiple organ failure.
To keep up with the latest Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) news, be sure to check out Pandemic.news.
Sources for this article include: