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UC Berkeley Doctor believes coronavirus has not hit peak in United States


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco city officials are working to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the Bay Area.

This as more new local cases make an appearance.

While there still are no confirmed cases in San Francisco, officials are bracing for the outbreak to hit.

City health officials say it is not a matter of if, but when.

Health officials announced two new cases of coronavirus in Santa Clara County.

This brings the total number of coronavirus cases in that county to nine.     

In San Mateo County, officials say one resident has tested “presumptive positive” for the coronavirus, which means the person has tested positive at a public health lab and officials are awaiting additional confirmation testing from the CDC.

As new cases with unknown origins begin to pop up, understanding the risk of coronavirus has become more important. 

The CDC says at this point, we should all be prepared for more cases to emerge across the United States.

The head of infectious diseases at UC Berkeley Doctor Lee Riley says this is an outbreak, it is an epidemic, and after comparing it to SARS and MERS, he believes there are three likely outcomes for the COVID-19 virus. 

“There are many types of coronaviruses including the ones that cause SARS and MERS but 1/3 of the common cold is actually caused by other types of the coronavirus,” Dr. Riley said.

Coronavirus was discovered back in the ’60s and four major types actually cause the common cold but this strain, COVID-19, has surprised infectious disease expert Dr. Lee Riley. 

“It was surprising we’re seeing so many deaths and rapid transmission occurring,” Dr. Riley said.

He says there are different views about what’s going on but it’s now probable coronavirus has always been around.

“Maybe they’re always seasonal and some are more virulent than others,” Dr. Riley said.

COVID-19 has proven itself to be a serious pathogen with the number of cases exceeding expectations and now that we can test for it, we’ll likely see more. 

“If someone died from respiratory illness, we naturally assumed it was the flu because that’s what happens during this season, but maybe it wasn’t influenza, it was coronavirus,” Dr. Riley said.

Riley says he believes the US hasn’t hit it’s peak of COVID-19 cases and while he believes it will continue to evolve here…

“If we can interrupt the re-exposure to sources of viruses, maybe it will burn itself out but the third possibility this is gonna become like influenza where it’s seasonal,” Dr. Riley said.

Riley stressed it makes no sense if you are worried about coronavirus but you’re not getting vaccines for the flu. 

He says to continue doing what you’ve been taught to do for influenza to best protect yourself.

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