Health officials in Washington state said Monday that four more people have died of the new, bringing the state’s death toll, and the nation’s, to six. Georgia reported its first two cases Monday, bringing the number of states with confirmed cases to 15.
The disease that emerged in central China was taking a mounting toll on American nerves. Stores in regions with COVID-19 clusters were selling out of basic goods as people stocked up.
The disease has hit at least 70 countries, with 90,000 cases and 3,100 deaths. The vast majority of cases and deaths have been in China. While the number of new cases recorded daily in that epicenter country has declined for weeks, the virus continues to spread fast in South Korea, Iran and Italy, prompting increased travel warnings and restrictions.
While their research has yet to be peer-reviewed, a team of scientists in Washington said the state’s two deaths could be the tip of an iceberg: They said hundreds more people in King County, where Seattle is located, may already have been exposed to the disease.
The potential for mild or even asymptomatic cases to go undetected but still spread COVD-19 has been noted repeatedly by health officials as one of the biggest challenges in fighting the disease. It makes the virus a deceptive enemy and, in spite of assurances from officials that the risk to the general public is low, the stockpiling and last week’s stock market losses show that, like the disease itself, fear is still spreading.
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