THE U.S. does not have enough coronavirus tests to meet demand, Mike Pence warned today as the death toll hit 12.
There have been enough tests for suspected patients that are showing symptoms, the Vice President said — but the country will fall short of its goal to ship out 1 million coronavirus tests by the end of the week.
"We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward,” Pence told reporters after meeting with a coronavirus task force and 3M executives in Minnesota, CNN reported.
“For those that we believe have been exposed, for those who are showing symptoms, we’ve been able to provide the testing.
He added that around "1,500 kits with roughly 500 tests each" were sent out — meaning "there’s roughly about a million and a half tests going out to hospitals."
Pence also explained The Coast Guard delivered "a sufficient number of tests" for passengers on a cruise ship off the coast of California.
"As more Americans take an interest in this or have concerns about this, we want to make sure they have access to the coronavirus test as well and we've made real progress on that in the last several days," he said.
Pence is the leader of a task force appointed by President Donald Trump to tackle the coronavirus situation in the U.S.
The VP's comments came as at least 215 cases of the virus were confirmed in the U.S., with 12 deaths reported.
Another death was reported in a female resident of Life Care Thursday afternoon — a woman in her 90s, who was hospitalized at Evergreen Health and died earlier on Tuesday, according to Seattle and King County's Public Health officials.
A report showed that if the virus worsens, the U.S. could run out of hospital space.
The report, published from Job Hopkins Center For Health Security, said that the virus could lead to 38 million people needing medical treatment, Medscape reported.
One million to 10 million could need to be hospitalized, the report said.
With 45,000 ICU Beds, and the potential for an additional 46,000 to be converted in the crisis, it would only give a fraction of the space needed in the most dire situation, the report said.
Pence assured that government officials are working to do all they can to "lean into" the fight against coronavirus.
“You should know we’re ready and we’re going to continue to bring the full resources of the federal government to bear to confront the spread of the coronavirus in the United States,” Pence said.
Pence also urged to stop wearing face masks if they were not ill.
“Unless you are ill, you have no need to buy a mask," he said.
Washington has gone into a sort of city-wide lock down, as more than 2 million people were advised to stay home while officials investigated a nursing home where several of King County's nine deaths occurred.
Officials have begun to suspect that nursing homes may be the center of outbreaks, as those that are older or who have underlying illnesses or condition are considered among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
In a conference from the CDC's Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity, officials said that studies have shown the fatality rate increases drastically with age in older patients.
Every ten years in patients over 60, the fatality rate seemingly doubles, Dr. Angela J. P. Campbell on the COVID-19 Response Clinical Team with the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC said, citing a recent study from China.
According to a case study from China using numbers up to Feb. 11, in patients ages 60 to 69, the fatality rate was around 4 percent.
In those ages 70 to 79, the rate was 8 percent, while in those 80 and older, the fatality numbers were around 15 percent, Campbell said.
Those with underlying conditions also were at higher risk of fatality, Campbell said.
People who fell ill that suffered from heart disease saw a death rate of 10 percent, while those with diabetes, chronic respiratory illness, high blood pressure, and cancer had a 6 percent to 7 percent rate.
Schools began to shutter in Seattle, as some — including Northshore School District announced that beginning today, all locations in the area would be closed for up to two weeks.
Facebook, Amazon, and Google all reportedly told their employees in the Seattle area to work from home amid suspected cases and the virus scare.
New Yorkers who "recently" returned from coronavirus hot-spots have been told to self-quarantine for two weeks.
Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a stark warning to people who have recently traveled to China, Japan, Iran, Italy and South Korea, describing the spread as "worrisome" and "unpredictable."
Yesterday, it emerged emerged a Westchester lawyer may have exposed thousands of people after infecting his own family and the neighbor who drove him to hospital.
Globally, more than 93,000 cases of the virus have been reported, with 2,984 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.
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