(CNN)The United States was reacting Sunday morning to the first reported US death from coronavirus with tighter travel restrictions and predictions of more infections and fatalities.
President Trump tweeted about new screening procedures for people arriving from certain “high-risk countries.” Vice President Mike Pence said more US deaths are possible but added most Americans should not worry.
New York University doctors and other experts say the US probably has more cases than identified officially. That’s because of testing delays and the virus’ ability to spread before an infected person shows any symptoms. The New York Times reported Sunday the virus might have been in Washington state for weeks and up to 1,500 people might be infected there.
All this followed official warnings last week that the virus would begin spreading in US communities.
The first US death, announced Saturday, added to a growing list of infections circulating in communities without any clear source.
Of the 86,500 cases confirmed globally, at least 2,976 have been fatal — 2,870 of which were in China. The US has reached at least 74 confirmed cases of the virus, according to counts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health authorities.
Several of those cases are believed to have been spread person-to-person with unknown origins, including the patient in Washington state who died, said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC.
The patient was a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions, according to Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County, Washington.
Two cases in Washington announced Saturday are affiliated with Life Care Center, a nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington, Duchin said.
More than 50 residents and staff at the facility are experiencing symptoms and will be tested for coronavirus, Duchin said. “We’re in the process of investigating this situation as an outbreak,” he told reporters Saturday.
The facility said in a statement it’s not allowing visits from families, volunteers or vendors, and admissions have been placed on hold for the time being. “We take the event very seriously,” a statement from the facility’s executive director said, in part.
But US officials have urged Americans not to panic.
“It’s important to remember,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “for the vast majority of individuals who contract the novel coronavirus, they will experience mild to moderate symptoms, and their treatment will be to remain at home, treating their symptoms, the way they would a severe cold, or the flu.”
Of the 74 confirmed or presumptive positive cases in the US, 44 people were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, three people were repatriated from China and 27 cases were detected in the US, according to health officials.
Presumptive positives mean tests in state or local labs came back positive but have not yet been confirmed by the CDC.
At least 13 cases in the US are travel-related and at least 10 are linked to person-to-person spread, according to the CDC. Several are of unknown origin.
The Rhode Island Department of Health announced the state’s first presumptive positive case on Sunday morning. The patient was