Coronavirus still low risk, Chicago health officials say

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CHICAGO — State and city officials met in Chicago's Chinatown to reassure the city that the risk of catching coronavirus is minimal.

"There is no need for the general public to change their behavior in any way," said Dr. Allison Arwady from the Chicago Department of Health. "No need to wear masks in public. No need to cancel events. And certainly no need to avoid coming to Chinatown.

There are now 15 confirmed cases in the United States, and two are in Illinois.

On Thursday, the CDC announced the latest patient is under federal quarantine order at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. That patient arrived in the US on a State Department-chartered flight on Friday. The person is isolated and receiving medical care at a hospital nearby, the CDC said.

Conditions continue to worsen in China, which is reporting 254 new deaths and a spike of 15,000 more cases. That brings the country's total more than 52,000 cases, with total deaths exceeding 1,300.

That's enough to spread some panic in Chicago's Chinatown as fewer people are seen walking the streets and going to local businesses.

Officials confirmed the infection that spread between a husband and wife in Hoffman Estates has not spread any further. Dr. Arwady called that, "a huge milestone."

Nonetheless, health officials still recommend taking the same precautions that you would when it comes to avoiding the flu virus. That includes washing your hands frequently, clean and disinfect surfaces, avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and to stay home when you are sick.


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