Update (2/27/20): Authorities have announced that the Northern California patient lives in Solano County and is being treated in Sacramento County.
Shortly after Donald Trump allayed the American public’s coronavirus fears by announcing at a press conference that he’s tapped science expert Mike Pence (just kidding; he hates science!) to head a task force dedicated to the burgeoning pandemic, news broke that a new case of novel coronavirus has been confirmed in Northern California.
According to The Washington Post, it’s the first case of unknown origin in the United States, meaning the patient hadn’t traveled outside of the country nor had they come in contact with another person known to be infected.
The California case seems to confirm the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s warnings that coronavirus—which has killed upward of 2,000 people in China and has been detected in countries including in Italy, Germany, France, Brazil, and South Korea, in addition to 59 traceable cases in the United States—would eventually spread in the U.S. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said on Tuesday, “Ultimately, we expect we will see coronavirus spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if, but a question of when.”
Even with the head of the CDC in attendance at this evening’s press conference, Trump was reluctant to accept that assessment. “The threat to America is low,” he said. “I don’t think it is inevitable. Probable? Maybe.” He then moved on to complain about Democrats treating him unfairly and causing the stock market to plunge.
Authorities have yet to say where in Northern California the case was located, but more info is expected soon. Meanwhile, in the Southern California city of Costa Mesa, residents are fighting against having coronavirus patients quarantined in a state-owned facility.
“While we have nothing but compassion for those who are suffering from this virus, the health and welfare of our community is our top priority,” Costa Mesa mayor Katrina Foley said earlier this week. “Bringing those infected into this densely populated area is simply the wrong approach.”
The California Health and Human Services Agency is eyeballing other state-owned facilities as quarantine sites as well.
The coronavirus in question, COVID-19, has a fatality rate of around 2 percent according to Chinese scientists, but that rate may be lower since many people who are carriers aren’t counted because they don’t exhibit symptoms. Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch told The Atlantic he predicts that 40 to 70 percent of people will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, but most won’t become severely ill.
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