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Cuomo urges calm after New York's first confirmed case of coronavirus

"We should relax, because that is what is dictated by the reality of the situation," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

NEW YORK, New York — Officials are urging New Yorkers not to panic after the first case of COVID-19, commonly called coronavirus, was confirmed in New York State.

During a news conference Monday morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made several of the same points that President Donald Trump made when he addressed the presence of the virus on U.S. shores last week. 

"In this situation the facts defeat fear, because the reality is reassuring," said Cuomo, in urging residents of the state to remain calm. "And we should relax, because that is what is dictated by the reality of the  situation."

The reality, according to the governor, is that 80 percent of those who may contract the virus could be expected to recover on their own. He also noted that those who may face more dire consequences, are no different than usual during influenza season.

"Those are individuals who are immune compromised debilitated people, and senior citizens, like the normal flu," Cuomo said.

On a more positive note and to perhaps to reassure parents, Cuomo said that unlike the common flu, "this virus does not seem to affect children so this is good news."

While the mortality rate from the coronavirus is more than double the rate of those who succumb to more common strains of flu, Cuomo was quick to note the differences between healthcare in the United States and other countries where the virus is spreading.

"The mortality rate has been extrapolating from what we know from countries around the world... we have the best healthcare system in the world here," the Governor said.

"We have a lot of information now that is actually showing us things that should give us reason to stay calm and go about our normal lives," said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Mayor de Blasio also noted that the health care systems in other countries, where the virus hit without advanced warning, simply don't measure up to the United States in terms of dealing with outbreaks of disease.

"This is something we can all handle together," said de Blasio.

However, while it urges the public not to panic, the state says it will issue new cleaning protocols for schools, and public transit systems, as well make an emergency appropriation for $40 million to be spent on ramping up testing of suspected cases.

"I'd like to have a goal of 1,000 tests per day capacity within one week," said Cuomo, who added that with no vaccine for this virus, preventing its spread is paramount.

Cuomo explained that the earlier cases can be confirmed, the faster measures can be taken to keep individuals from spreading the virus, which in most cases he suspects would be by that person isolating themselves in their own home.

Meanwhile, state officials said the 39-year-old Manhattan woman, whose case of coronavirus was the first to be confirmed in New York, exhibited model behavior for helping to stop the spread of the virus. They say as a health care worker, she provided a "textbook" example of knowing just what to do after having traveled and worked in Iran, where the virus has spread.

The steps she took included avoiding public transportation in heading to her residence when she landed in the U.S., and — once she started exhibiting symptoms — made sure to call a local hospital in advance to inform that both she and her husband were coming in.  

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