'Be Vigilant, but Don't Panic': 13 US States See Infection as Global Coronavirus Death Toll Passes 3,000
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The deadly COVID-19 virus that has killed more than 3,000 people has claimed the lives of two Americans in Washington state.
Officials there say the coronavirus may have spreading undetected for weeks possibly infecting hundreds of people.
The two men in Washington state, one in his 50s, the other in his 70s, both had underlying health conditions.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now dispatching teams to an elderly care center where the initial outbreak was reported.
The number of cases in the US rose from 65 to 88 over the weekend.
So far, 13 states across the country, including New York, Florida, California, and Arizona, are reporting cases of the coronavirus.
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"The message is to be careful and be vigilant, but don't panic," said Rhode Island's Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Vice President Mike Pence is sending a similar message, warning Americans to prepare for more cases, but insists the risks remain low.
"But it is not my confidence, it is the confidence of all of our health experts who are widely regarded as the best in the world," Pence said on NBC's Meet The Press.
Still, the virus continues to grow around the world with numbers of new cases exploding in South Korea.
Health officials in the capital of Seoul are going floor-by-floor disinfecting shops as hundreds of people line up for hours to buy masks.
The numbers infected in Italy and France also jumped over the weekend. Staff at the iconic Louvre museum in Paris forced to close its doors.
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Even Pope Francis, appearing a little under the weather, told the faithful at the Vatican Sunday that he had to cancel a week-long spiritual retreat, but not due to the COVID-19 virus. "Unfortunately, my cold means I won't be able to participate this year," the Pope said during mass.
Meanwhile, a number of travelers from Italy and France apparently spread the virus to other parts of Europe and the Middle East.
Indonesia reported its first two cases on Monday. The president there saying they've been getting ready should the virus spread more widely.
"More than 100 hospitals have been prepared with isolation rooms for sufferers of COVID-19," said Indonesia's President Joko Widodo.
Back here at home, the Department of Health and Human Services is gearing up to increase testing for the virus.
"We now have 75,000 tests available out there in the United States and over the next week that will expand radically," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
The coronavirus has so far infected more than 89,000 people in 60 countries around the world.
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