NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The State Department raised the level of its travel advisory on Monday, urging Americans to reconsider travel anywhere in China due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
As China rushes more medical reinforcements into Wuhan, officials there are warning that the coronavirus is spreading faster.
In New York City, officials are bracing for the disease’s inevitable arrival.
“Really emphasizing to New Yorkers, it’s probably here already. That’s the sad reality,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
At least 106 people have died in China from the disease, and thousands have been sickened.
There are five confirmed cases in the U.S. Several suspected patients in the Tri-State Area are being tested, including one just announced in New Jersey.
Mayor de Blasio said much about the mysterious virus remains unknown.
“On a spectrum of diseases, if we are lucky it’s more like the common cold. If we are unlucky, it’s more like SARS and so far it sure looks more like SARS,” de Blasio said.
Some people were seen wearing masks due to fear of the virus. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there were five possible infection cases pending results from the CDC.
“While there have been no confirmed cases in New York State, as of today our Department of Health has sent samples for nine individuals to CDC for testing. Four of these samples have proven negative and five results are still pending,” Cuomo said. “These five individuals remain in isolation as their samples are tested at CDC. While the risk for New Yorkers is currently low, we are still working to keep everyone informed, prepared and safe.”
The State Department plans to airlift some Americans out of Wuhan on Wednesday, but not all, saying capacity is extremely limited. In all, 1,000 Americans are reportedly stuck as a result of travel restrictions, including a professor from Stony Brook University visiting family.
“My office is working with the State Department and embassy officials to insure the Stony Brook professor is in constant contact with U.S. Officials. We are all working to arrange a flight home for him,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said.
The impact of the coronavirus sent stocks tanking on Monday. All three indexes had their worst day since October. Experts say the spread of coronavirus could slow down growth in China, the world’s second-largest economy.
On Sunday, Sen. Schumer said the federal government should get ahead of the need to declare an official public health emergency should an infectious outbreak of coronavirus happen in the U.S.