Three states announced they have found additional cases of “community spread” of the new coronavirus strain, a harrowing sign that the virus is already spreading in several parts of the United States.
California, Washington, and Oregon announced late Friday night that they have each found instances where patients did not travel outside of the United States or come in contact with anyone they knew who was infected. One of the people infected was a school aged-child in Washington, the state reported.
Scientists believe the virus spreads through the air after someone coughs or sneezes, as well as through infected surfaces. But they don’t yet know how infectious the virus is and to what extent people without symptoms can infect other people.
California had the first case of community spread earlier this week, and it announced a second case Friday. Washington had not only one case of community spread but another case confirmed in a woman in her 50s who had traveled to South Korea. Oregon also reported one case.
All of the patients tested positive, but the cases still have to be double-checked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before they can be officially confirmed. That would bring the total number of cases detected through the U.S. public health system to 19.
“Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown,” according to the CDC.
The latest cases of community spread, however, offer a sign that there may be far more people infected with the virus than scientists have been able to detect. The illness, known as COVID-19, has spread to more than 82,000 people globally and originated in Wuhan, China.
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Contributed by Sean Walton of The Daily Sheeple.