WHO declares health emergency over coronavirus, southern Arizonans not panicking yet

Gem show set to begin under air of caution

Coronavirus in Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The World Health Organization issued a global warning over the coronavirus outbreak, and the U.S. State Department is now telling people not to travel to China. This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed for the first time a person-to-person transmission of the virus in Chicago. A resident reportedly became infected from their spouse.

So far, there have been nearly 9,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 213 deaths.

In Arizona, there has been only one confirmed case in Maricopa County. With people traveling from all over the world to visit the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase, there is an air of caution, especially downtown. However, those we spoke with are not panicking just yet.

“I’m not hiding my head in the sand about this, but I think the flu virus is much more urgent,” said Jeff Rogers, who spent Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Santa Cruz River Farmers Market.

Others at the farmers market expressed similar thoughts.

“[Coronavirus has] crossed my mind, but I’m not too concerned about it,” Mariel Montien said.

Margot Garcia said, "Something new is going to threaten a group of people, but we have people dying from the flu, too, so hopefully we can get a vaccine fast enough.”

And some are taking a light-hearted view of the situation.

"I have some friends and family in my life that have been joking about wearing masks and being safe and not going out, but I personally haven’t been too worried about it,” Larissa Rodriguez said.

Many said they were taking basic precautions like washing their hands frequently and avoiding contact with people showing flu-like symptoms. The overall feeling was that coronavirus will have to hit much closer to home before people make drastic changes.

“If people were dropping dead all over the place, left and right, that would definitely get my attention,” Rogers said.

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