Trump Tells Americans Not To Panic – But Coronavirus May Have Spread Undetected For 6 Weeks In The U.S.

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Mar 02 2020
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Moments after Covid-19 coronavirus killed the first American in Washington state, President Donald Trump said on Saturday that there was “no reason to panic”. On Sunday, a second U.S. death was announced. On the same day, New York state confirmed its first case. So far, there are at least 89 confirmed cases, and the nasty virus continues to spread throughout the U.S.


However, the Washington case was not the first American to die. A 60-year-old U.S. citizen died in Wuhan in early February. Despite his assurance, however, Trump said he was considering additional restrictions, including closing the U.S. border with Mexico in response to the virus’ spread. The president also hinted that all other borders could be closed.


Worldwide, more than 87,000 people have been diagnosed with the highly infectious novel coronavirus, resulting in at least 3,037 deaths. About 60 nations around the world, covering every continent – except Antarctica – have confirmed cases. The outbreak has reached a stage where the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) is preparing to close its trading floor, if the crisis escalates.

NYSE New York Stock Exchange Trading Floor

The stock exchange plans “some sort of test run” in preparation for floor traders, brokers and market makers to trade from home. NYSE and other major Wall Street firms have been telling their employees to get ready, saying – “‘Be prepared to work from home, test your systems out, make sure your computer works, make sure you can get into the company system to trade.”


But it could be a little bit too late to contain the virus in the United States now. The Covid-19 coronavirus is believed to have been spreading – undetected – and has possibly infected scores of people over the past 6 weeks in Washington State alone. That conclusion came from Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.


According to Bedford, an analysis of two virus samples – one of the first person diagnosed with the disease who had travelled from Wuhan, China to Snohomish County in mid-January and another newly diagnosed patient in the same country but with zero travel-related exposure to the virus – have been found to be closely matched. Both samples look almost identical genetically.

Coronavirus - Death - EvergreenHealth Medical Center

The discovery, therefore, indicates that the virus has been spreading undetected for six weeks. Bedford wrote – “This strongly suggests that there has been cryptic transmission in Washington State for the past 6 weeks. I believe we’re facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now due to the narrow case definition requiring direct travel to China.”


Bedford said while it is possible, it is very unlikely that the genetic similarity of the two virus samples could be a coincidence. The CDC is investigating the hypothesis. The official said it’s possible that someone else introduced the virus into the community “that we didn’t pick up.” If that’s true, it means the highly contagious virus has eluded efforts to contain it through travel bans, quarantines and other methods.


Officials in Seattle and King County on Sunday announced that two more patients, men in their 60s, have tested positive for the coronavirus and are in critical condition. That brings the outbreak in Washington State to 8 cases, six of them in King County, including the first coronavirus death in the United States. Health officials expect the numbers will continue to rise.

Coronavirus - Americans Wear Mask

To make matters worse, similar to Washington, California and Oregon have also reported coronavirus infections in people who did not travel to regions or countries hit by the outbreak such as China, South Korea, Iran or Italy. Until a few days ago, the CDC only focused on people who had been to China or been in contact with someone who had travelled there.


People with respiratory infections and fevers were not being widely tested for coronavirus, until the U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) decided to cast their net wider last week. Coincidentally, this weekend marked a clear turning point in the coronavirus crisis in the United States, with the first reported death and additional cases of community spread.


Most people infected will likely suffer mild, flu-like symptoms of the virus, which has an estimated mortality rate of 2%. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, agreed with Bedford that there may be “hundreds or thousands” of coronavirus cases in the U.S. that haven’t been reported or detected.

Coronavirus - Donald Trump Wears Mask


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