Local health experts more concerned about flu than coronavirus

Local health experts focused more on flu than coronavirus

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Health officials worldwide are on high alert as cases of the 2019 coronavirus continue to rise.

"I’m still more concerned about the flu than I am about COVID-19,” said Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director.

Haushalter is talking about the 2019 coronavirus. Now officially named COVID-19 by The World Health Organization.

So far, there have been more than 75,000 confirmed cases. The death toll climbing above 2,000 worldwide.

In the United States, health officials say there have been at least 34 people infected with the coronavirus.

"We don’t want to minimize that in any way, but we do know that the public health system is working. Individuals who travel are being asked to socially isolate. In some cases they may be asked to formally quarantine and those who are ill with the virus are being isolated,” said Haushalter.

Haushalter says health officials here locally are still more concerned with the flu. According to the most recent data from the state health department, from Feb. 2 to Feb. 8, there were more than 4,100 cases of flu like illness statewide.

Shelby County leads the state with more than 1,800 of those cases coming out of our area.

Ultimately, health officials are on high alert doing what they can to keep the public safe.

Haushalter anticipates the number of coronavirus cases to continue climbing.

"It is spread by respiratory droplet just like a cold so it's very easily spread when people come in contact,” said Haushalter.

There are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus here in Tennessee, Mississippi or Arkansas.

Although, a couple from East Tennessee remains quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan after the woman tested positive for coronavirus, according to multiple reports.

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