Wednesday April 24, 2024

Ohio likely has 100,000 coronavirus cases

March 14, 2020

WASHINGTON: The US state of Ohio likely has more than 100,000 people carrying the new coronavirus, the state health department director said.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday with state governor Mike DeWine to announce measures to slow the spread of the pandemic, director Amy Acton said Ohio had community spread of the virus.

"We know now just the fact of community spread says that at least one percent, at the very least, one percent of our population is carrying this virus in Ohio today," Acton said. "We have 11.7 million people. So the math is over 100,000. So that just gives you a sense of how this virus spreads and is spreading quickly," she said.

"It is this one-in-50 years pandemic that we’ve been planning for." Ohio has five confirmed cases and 52 under investigation but, like much of the United States, has so far carried out limited numbers of tests.

Coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 1,300 on Thursday with nearly 40 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. As of Sunday, 1,707 Americans had been tested, Business Insider reported, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"These numbers are going to continue to grow. We know that these confirmed numbers are just a small fraction of the individuals who are infected already in the state of Ohio," governor DeWine said during the press conference. "We’re told by medical experts that whatever the number is today, it will double in six days and that just continues on and on," he said.

Public health experts have rebuked US authorities for downplaying the pandemic and lagging far behind other hard-hit countries in rolling out testing for the virus. As part of Ohio’s measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Acton and DeWine signed an order banning most gatherings of more than 100 people. Ohio schools were also ordered to close for three weeks.