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Doctor says don't panic over coronavirus

Posted at 6:45 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 18:45:40-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. —Reported flu deaths so far this year double the number of coronavirus deaths. Even though both viruses are out there, Dr. Bruce Lipshutz with Millenium Physician Group says be prepared, not scared.

“People need to take a breath and realize this is not death like you’re seeing in China. But we have to be careful in the United States,” he said.

The CDC reports more than 30,000,000 flu cases worldwide this season, and nearly five thousand people have died from the flu so far this year. That’s more than double the 2,400 coronavirus-related deaths.

Coronavirus is actually common even in the U.S. But the new strain is called COVID-19. That’s the strain from Wuhan, China. Dr. Stephanie Stoval with Lee Health says she sees why people are on edge.

“People are more nervous about coronavirus because it’s new,” she said. “We can predict a lot about flu season every year. But when a new virus, such as COVID 19 shows up, we can predict it based on past coronaviruses, but not this specific one.”

Lpshutz said it’s the rate that’s alarming.

“The problem with the coronavirus is it spread so quickly. And that’s more than other pandemics that we’ve seen before,” he said.

But other epidemics have come and gone. Take ebola for example. only two people died in the U.S. a few years ago. Both patients had traveled to West Africa where the 2014 epidemic began.

Doctors are currently working on a vaccine for the coronavirus. which could take weeks or months.