The first confirmed case of the new coronavirus in New York is a Manhattan health care worker who returned Tuesday from Iran where the outbreak is more widespread. The 39-year-old woman is quarantined at her Manhattan home. Health officials are trying to determine if she infected anyone else after arriving.
"We don't believe that she was contagious when she was on the plane, or when she took a private car from the airport to her residence,” said Governor Cuomo at a press conference Monday. “But out of an abundance of caution, we will be contacting the people who were on that flight."
The woman’s husband traveled with her, and is expected to test positive for the virus as well.
Mayor de Blasio also joined Governor Cuomo to talk about the situation at the joint press conference Monday morning.
Later, the mayor held a drill with city agencies and a roundtable where he announced the city is now authorized by the federal government to do its own testing for the virus, which had not been expected until Friday.
"Here in New York City I am pleased to tell you it will begin later on today,” de Blasio said. “We will be up and running with our testing through our health department later on today. That testing will take a matter of hours for each individual case."
The state was granted the authority to conduct its own testing last week, which may explain why the positive test was first reported by the state Sunday night. Officials say the good news about the coronavirus is that 80% of cases appear to "self-resolve," meaning people fight it off with their own immune system. It disproportionately affects the elderly and infirm, not the young.
"The mortality rate is estimated to be about 1.4%,” Cuomo said. “The normal flu mortality rate is about 0.6%."
It is unusual to see both the mayor and the governor hold a joint press conference. They are very often at odds. Sometimes, they even hold competing press conferences over issues. It does give New Yorkers a sense of how seriously they are taking a potential outbreak of coronavirus.
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