Coronavirus outbreak at 'decisive point'; WHO director urges immediate action

The coronavirus outbreak is at a "decisive point," but could still be contained with aggressive measures, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said in a Feb. 27 media briefing.

Four updates:

1. "No country should assume it won't get cases, that would be a fatal mistake, quite literally," Dr. Tedros said, referencing the outbreak in Italy, where officials have confirmed 17 related deaths and 650 cases.

The coronavirus outbreak has "pandemic potential," but the direction of the outbreak depends on how it is handled," Dr. Tedros said. "If you act aggressively now, you can prevent people from getting sick."

"This is not a time for fear. This is a time for taking action to prevent infection and save lives now," he added.

2. California expanded testing Feb. 27, the same day the first U.S. COVID-19 case of unknown origin was confirmed in the state. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said Feb. 27 he is confident in California's ability to respond to the spread of COVID-19, according to local radio station KXJZ. Mr. Newsom and health officials have called for testing to now include individuals showing possible symptoms even if they haven't travelled outside the U.S. California has 200 test kits, but the governor said the CDC is sending more.

3. The Dow plunged 1,191 points Feb. 27, its biggest drop in history, USA Today reports. Concerns regarding the outbreak put the blue-chip average into a correction — a decline of 10 percent — for the first time since December 2018.

4. The global case count continues to rise. As of Feb. 27 at 5 p.m., COVID-19 has sickened 82,592 and resulted in 2,810 deaths. Globally, 33,253 people have recovered from the illness.

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