The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is spiraling throughout America.
California reported infections without a clear link to foreign travel or contact with persons from infected regions.
The first two deaths in America were reported, both in King County in Washington state. One of the victims was in his 70s and at a nursing care facility, raising the specter of extremely high (estimated at 14.9% by the Chinese CDC) fatality rates for the elderly infected with the virus.
Now, NYC announced its first confirmed case. Panic buying of face masks and disinfectant has swept shelves bare in NYC and nationwide. A survey of over 30 pharmacies revealed not a single personal protective equipment item for sale at any price.
Time magazine reports that a global shortage of face masks and other personal protective equipment will grow far worse as China and other nations producing the vast majority of this equipment are now consuming far more than they produce.
American CDC and HHS report that they estimate their need, to protect medical staff at 300,000,000 face masks and have less than 20,000,000 on hand.
Similar shortages are expected for generic drugs manufactured in China and India and relied on by American consumers to fight viral and respiratory illnesses.
Image Credit: user:AngMoKio / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)