Why you should expect California’s coronavirus cases to increase


It’s all over the news. Coronavirus Coronavirus Coronavirus outbreak. The number of diagnosed U.S. coronavirus cases
is steadily growing. But, chances are those official stats that people keep quoting and
you keep seeing underestimate the reach of the virus — and that might not be a bad
thing. Hi, I’m Ana Ibarra, health reporter for
CalMatters. And I’m explaining California’s response to the coronavirus. Initially the federal Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention only tested recent international travelers and people who had
knowingly come in contact with infected patients. Then there was a reported shortage of tests
to screen for the virus. This left many — including people who experienced
no symptoms and those who may have thought they had a cold or flu — untested. It also
made tracking the spread a lot harder. Now: The CDC has expanded its testing criteria,
and sent California thousands of tests. As more people are tested, more cases will be
reported. By the time state public health officials
announced that they could screen more than 7,000 people, the number of people self-quarantined
because of possible exposure was 10,000 and climbing. And some people — including health care
workers now in isolation — report waiting days to be tested. “We don’t have enough tests today to meet
what we think will be the demand.”–Mike Pence As the Trump administration and health officials
scramble to catch up, more people are bound to learn they have contracted the coronavirus.The
World Health Organization estimates about 3 percent of worldwide cases have died. But as more people with previously undetected
cases and mild symptoms test positive, the calculated death rate is likely to drop. Those at greatest risk: older adults with
underlying medical conditions, which may make it harder for them to fight off the virus. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency
in California. The state has thus far: -Set aside $20 million to respond to the outbreak
— this could help with testing costs, medical transport and increased staff time -Required insurers to pay the full cost of
testing for the virus for millions of Californians -And made available 21 million face masks
from its emergency reserve to help protect health care workers While there’s not yet any vaccine against
the virus or cure for those sickened by it, experts say you can minimize your risk of
exposure by frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer
with 60% or more alcohol content and keeping your hands away from your face. If you’re feeling sick,stay home. And if
you fear that you may have been exposed to the virus, contact your doctor. You can keep up with California’s response
to the coronavirus by following our reporting at CalMatters.org. For CalMatters, I’m Ana Ibarra.

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