No cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Texas after multiple rumored infections throughout the state have tested negative. Local and state experts agree that the Texas public is not currently at risk.
“You’re much more likely to get the regular flu than you are the coronavirus,” El Campo Memorial Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Thai Huynh said.
Over the last two months, the coronavirus, which is mainly linked to Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, has been confirmed in more than 31,000 patients and killed more than 600 people. In the U.S., 12 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, as of presstime.
Cases were rumored in College Station, Dallas and Waco, but were later confirmed not to be coronavirus. As of presstime, one possible case in Beaumont is being tested.
“It seems to be very contagious, and I think that’s what scares a lot of people,” Huynh said. “Like the flu, like your common cold, there’s no really good treatment for it. What you generally do is give them supportive care.”
The U.S. declared a public health emergency retroactive to Jan. 27 and the World Health Organization declared a global emergency on Jan. 30. In the last decade, there have been five global public health emergencies, including for Ebola virus and swine flu.
A plane carrying 250 U.S. evacuees from Wuhan City landed in San Antonio Friday. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will handle transporting and caring for the evacuees who will stay quarantined at Lackland Air Force Base until Feb. 29.
Since October 2019 there have been at least 22 million cases of flu illnesses in the U.S. and at least 12,000 flu deaths.
“The main problem with the flu, coronavirus and so forth is not really the virus itself, but it’s the secondary infection,” Huynh said. “What kills a lot of people with flu is not the flu itself. It’s actually (if) you get the flu, your immune system goes down.”
In order to combat illness, Texas medical professionals advised the public to get a flu shot and frequently wash their hands. Huynh echoed their advice.
“Like the flu, the way to keep yourself safe is wash hands with soap and water,” Huynh said. “That’s number one. If you’re not close to soap and water, the alcohol sanitizers do a pretty good job.”