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City, Tourism Officials Closely Monitoring Coronavirus
By Jorge Casuso
February 27, 2020 -- There have been no novel coronavirus cases reported in Santa Monica, but the disease that has triggered a global health panic is hitting home.
City and tourism officials this week said they are closely monitoring the new, viral disease that produces symptoms similar to the flu or pneumonia.
“Santa Monica is monitoring the situation very closely, and we’re working hand in hand with the L.A. County Department of Public Health to communicate accurate information and be prepared to support community needs,” Mayor Kevin McKeown said Thursday.
On Wednesday, Misti Kerns, President and CEO of Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT), said the agency is "closely monitoring" the situation and "its impact on inbound travel to Santa Monica and the greater region."
"Based on information from the U.S. Travel Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, risk to most Americans remains low as does the risk to the general public in California," Kerns said.
"While the government has not suggested limiting domestic travel, or imposing restrictions on international inbound travel beyond those already in place, this is clearly a rapidly evolving situation."
L.A. County Health officials advise the following "key protective community strategies:"
City officials also encourage residents to prepare for any emergency, "including a potential coronavirus emergency in the U.S.," by ensuring their families have a disaster kit at home.
The kits should contain seven days of household essentials, including food, water, sanitation supplies and basic medications. For more information visit the City's Office of Emergency Management’s website.
While the unknown nature of the coronavirus has caused widespread alarm, health experts note that influenza remains a far more deadly disease.
So far, some 82,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed since a pneumonia outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China in December.
These have resulted in some 2,800 deaths, according to doctors at Johns Hopkins. None of the deaths have taken place in the U.S.
By comparison, the flu is responsible for an estimated 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide every year. Of those, between 12,000 and 61,000 take place in the U.S.
While both diseases share the same symptoms -- fever, coughing, body aches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea -- there is no vaccination against the coronavirus.
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