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Obama urges public to 'stay calm' and 'listen to the experts' on coronavirus

Obama urges public to 'stay calm' and 'listen to the experts' on coronavirus
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Former President Obama is warning the public to “stay calm” and “listen to the experts” as fears rise over the international outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. 

“Protect yourself and your community from coronavirus with common sense precautions: wash your hands, stay home when sick and listen to the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and local health authorities,” he tweeted early Wednesday.

“Save the masks for health care workers. Let’s stay calm, listen to the experts, and follow the science,” he continued.

So far, 13 states have reported confirmed or “presumptive cases” of the virus to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC says 80 cases have been reported overall and that nine deaths have been recorded. Their total does not include the 48 people who contracted the virus on a cruise ship.

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The Trump administration has faced immense pressure from lawmakers and the public to step up its efforts to prevent the virus, which has infected and killed thousands of victims worldwide, from taking a stronghold in the country. 

According to World Health Organization (WHO) officials, nearly 3.4 percent of reported cases have died worldwide. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the organization, said earlier this week that, by comparison, the “seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 percent of those infected.” 

The death rate could change as more data comes in. Death rates in some countries have been much lower than 3.4 percent.

Though experts are working to determine more information about the outbreak, the CDC says the virus is thought to spread through person-to-person contact. According to the agency, it can take anywhere from 2 days or even two weeks for symptoms of the virus — which include fever, cough and shortness of breath — to appear. 

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“Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases,” the CDC states on its website

Although there is no vaccine at this time that can be given to prevent the virus, the CDC advises people to follow similar preventative guidelines for sicknesses to avoid contracting or spreading the disease, like disinfecting “frequently touched objects,” avoiding close contact sick people and avoiding “touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.” 

Surgeon General Jerome Adams has also advised Americans to stop buying medical masks, noting the items are ineffective in preventing the virus. 

“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” he tweeted over the weekend.

“They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” he added.