In 300 words: should Americans be worried about coronavirus?

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Media captionFive countries, five answers

The coronavirus that started in Wuhan, China, has now reached dozens of countries and is only a matter of time before it begins to spread to the United States.

So how prepared is the country?

How fast is Covid-19 spreading?

Thousands of new cases are reported every day and the royal flush could be 10 times higher.

There are 59 confirmed cases in the U.S., 10 in Canada.

North American health officials say local risk remains low, but more cases are expected and this may change.

How prepared is the United States?

President Donald Trump says the situation is “well under control,” while Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials warn that the virus will spread and could seriously compromise daily life.

American health chief Alex Azar has asked Congress for $ 2.5 billion (£ 1.9 billion), but lawmakers say more is needed. Over $ 1 billion would go towards developing a vaccine. The rest would finance the quarantine efforts and supplies, including surgical masks. Azar said the United States only has 30 million and needs 300 million.

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Some U.S. pharmacies are already experiencing mask shortages

The president’s political rivals also renewed criticism of his 2018 decision to dismantle the National Health Council’s global health unit. The CDC’s global health division also saw drastic cuts that year.

What are the main concerns?

The high medical costs make the virus particularly problematic: many Americans avoid medical visits because of inaccessible accusations.

Last month, a Florida man with symptoms had a coronavirus test and was given a $ 3,270 bill from his insurance company.

Taking sick leave is another concern. Not all employers offer paid holidays and a work culture often drives employees to go to work badly.

This could contribute to the spread of the virus, as infected people may not show significant symptoms for up to 14 days.

What should you do

The virus typically begins with fever and dry cough – rarely accompanied by sneezing or a runny nose – and causes shortness of breath. In severe cases, it causes pneumonia and kidney failure.

  • How concerned should we be?
  • A visual guide to the outbreak

You should wash your hands regularly, avoid contact with people who have symptoms of respiratory disease and stay away from animals.

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