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Coronavirus outbreak reaches milestone, with over 100,000 cases reported worldwide

A health worker wore a protective suit at the infectious disease clinic in Zagreb, Croatia, where the first coronavirus case in Croatia is hospitalized, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. Croatia confirmed its first case of coronavirus in a man who had been to Milan, the capital of Lombardy, Italy. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic/TNS)

The number of people diagnosed with the new coronavirus reached six figures worldwide on Friday, less than two months after the first case was confirmed outside China, the epicenter of the rapidly growing outbreak.

Data from John Hopkins University, which has been tracking the spread of the virus around the globe, shows that nearly 101,000 cases have been confirmed since the virus was discovered in December.

More than 80,000 of those cases are in mainland China, where the epidemic has killed more than 3,400 patients and drastically changed people’s lives, with many working from home as businesses across the country and public transportation in hard-hit cities remain shut down.

In the U.S., meanwhile, several states confirmed their first cases on Friday and the death toll has now reached 14 — with all but one case in Washington state, where an outbreak is linked to a nursing home in the Seattle area. Two of those deaths happened in Washington’s King County, one in that state’s Snohomish County and another in California.

At least 20 other states have at least one confirmed case. The latest to announce their first coronavirus patients include Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

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New York has confirmed at least 22 cases statewide, most of them in Westchester County, where a cluster of cases are linked to a New Rochelle lawyer.

COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new virus, has spread to every continent besides Antarctica and the impact on the world’s economy and people’s daily lives continue to grow every day. Numerous flights and major events have been canceled, thousands of people have been quarantined at home, in military bases or even on cruise ships and world stocks have dropped sharply as investors worry the crisis is just beginning.

The World Health Organization on Friday urged countries to make containment their highest priority.

“We continue to call on countries to find, test, isolate and care for every case, and to trace every contact,” Tedros Ghebreyesus, the agency’s director-general, said in a news conference from Switzerland.

“Slowing down the COVID19 epidemic saves lives, and it buys time for preparedness and for research and development,” he said. “Every day we can slow down the epidemic is another day hospitals can prepare themselves for cases.”

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© 2020 New York Daily News