Coronavirus enters US, should we be worried?

Catching a cold or the flu is always cause for concern, but a new virus that just entered the United States this week also has health officials on high alert. 

Scientists have identified it as a new coronavirus. The outbreak started in China, likely at a seafood market, and has spread to hundreds of people with 17 deaths at last count. The first case in the United States was just confirmed Tuesday in Seattle in a citizen who recently returned from a trip to China. 

Do we need to be worried about this? We talked with Dr. Trini Mathew, an infectious disease doctor with Beaumont. 

"What we are advising our staff is to look at the traveler's association with Wuhan, China, along with symptoms that people may have in the flu season, including fever and respiratory problems," she said. 

The symptoms of the coronavirus can seem similar to other viruses. Dr. Mathew says, in fact, that the coronaviruses are actually in a family of viruses that cause the common cold. 

As we are concerned about the flu and other illnesses this time of year, the coronavirus is also concerning because authorities have determined that it can be transmitted from person to person. 

Dr. Mathew says the deaths that have occurred so far are likely due to complications from underlying related medical conditions, though complete details from China haven't been released yet. 

The bottom line right now is, Dr. Mathew says, that the flu is still the main concern here in Michigan. And she's reminding everyone that it's still not too late to get your flu shot.