2-29-2020 Coronavirus Hits Close to My Home

Last night the first death from coronavirus (COVID-19) occurred on US soil.

It's one thing to write about a disease in China or in other parts of the country, but Seattle is my neighborhood and suddenly the threat seems much more real.  Kirkland, WA is a suburb east of Seattle and in King County, the same as Seattle.

The patient who died was in Evergreen Health Medical Center. There is another patient, a woman in her 70's who is reportedly in serious condition at the same hospital.  In addition than 50 staff and residents of a long-term care facility in Kirkland are having respiratory problems and being tested for the coronavirus.  

The health officials reported two cases of COVID-19 virus connected to a long-term care facility in the same suburb, Life Care Center of Kirkland. One is a Life Care worker, a woman in her 40s who is in satisfactory condition at a hospital, and the other is a woman in her 70s and a resident at Life Care who is hospitalized in serious condition. Neither had traveled abroad. 

“In addition, over 50 individuals associated with Life Care are reportedly ill with respiratory symptoms or hospitalized with pneumonia or other respiratory conditions of unknown cause and are being tested for COVID-19,” Seattle and King County officials said. “Additional positive cases are expected.”

There are now more new cases being reported outside of China than in that country.

I think it's inevitable that the coronavirus will get into parts of the world where the residents are poor, in generally poor health, and lack access to health care. That could include many parts of the world like poor regions of Africa, the slums of India and cities in the US with large homeless populations like Seattle and San Francisco.  It's scary to think how fast the virus could spread in such areas and what the death toll might be.

Here's today's virus map:

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