(US, March 3, 2020) The COVID-19 would spread in New York as the number of US deaths from it rose to six on Monday, a US official said.

In a AFP report, the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned it was “inevitable” that the virus would spread in the global financial hub after its first confirmed case was detected in a health care worker who had visited Iran.

Cuomo said the 39-year-old woman who tested positive at the weekend had mild symptoms and was recovering in isolation at home. Her husband is however expected to test positive as well.

(L-R) Debbie Birx, White House Corona Virus Response Coordinator, looks on as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a March 2 briefing on the administration’s coronavirus response in the press briefing room of the White House on March 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. Picture: AFP

All the US deaths are in the state of Washington, signaling the contagion has taken root in the Pacific Northwest, officials said.

Five of the six American fatalities have been from King county, the most populous in Washington state and home to Seattle, a city of more than 700,000 people. The sixth victim was from neighboring Snohomish county, officials said according to AFP.

“The risk for all of us of becoming infected will be increasing,” said Jeff Duchin, a health officer in King County as quoted by AFP.

“Although most of the cases will be mild or moderate, the infection can cause serious illness and there’s a potential for many people to become ill at the same time.”

The state reported four new cases, three from the same nursing home, taking the total number of US cases to more than 90 — about half of which were people repatriated from either China or a virus-stricken cruise ship off Japan.

Dow Constantine, the top official in King County, said his office was in talks to purchase a motel in which to place people who required isolation, adding: “We have to move to a new stage in the fight to contain, mitigate and manage this outbreak.”

Vice President Mike Pence has announced a treatment for the disease could be available by summer or early fall, but that a vaccine was farther off.

Pence, the administration’s pointman for the crisis, also said the government was moving to screen 100 percent of passengers flying in from Italy and South Korea, two serious virus hot zones.

There are numerous vaccines and treatments under development, but remdesivir developed by the pharmaceutical firm Gilead is the closest to market availability. It has already been used to treat one US patient and was moving toward two final stage expansive clinical trials in Asia.

Pence added that US pharmaceutical companies had formed a consortium to work together and share information to develop these drugs.

New travel protocols “will ensure that anyone traveling on a direct flight to the United States of America receives multiple screenings at all airports in Italy and South Korea,” he said.

Besides US, Italy has had 1,700 cases and South Korea has had 4,000.

Globally, more than 3,100 people have died as a result of the virus, the vast majority of them in China. More than 90,000 people have been infected, with cases registered in more than 60 countries.