CHILTON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) -Kristen McCary got nervous when two of her children came down with serious symptoms.
“Marshall, he had a 103-degree fever, chills, and he could not stay awake. And Avery, she woke up with a fever and her eyes were stuck together," says McCary.
Testing negative for flu, strep, and RSV, the doctor confirmed it was a strain of the Coronavirus, which, in December 2019 was not yet a household name.
“It was terrifying! Like all I could think was, like is this what’s going on in China right now?”, added McCary.
The focus on the rapid number of deaths in China has led to a frenzy over the virus. Doctors then tried putting things in perspective.
“In the 2017-2018 flu season, over 70,000 people died in the United States alone,” says Jefferson County Department of Health Medical Director Wesley Willeford.
They say it's the novelty that's causing a stir.
"This is new, it's something that we've not necessarily seen a lot of before. We've seen things like it, but we haven't seen this particular thing before," says Willeford.
Coronavirus is the second leading cause of the common cold. There are at least seven different strains. They’re not sure yet why it’s caused so many deaths in China, but suspect it might deal with age and pre-existing conditions.
So while we’ve only seen seven cases in the U.S. and no deaths from Coronavirus, versus 10,000 deaths so far in the last year from flu, doctors say be concerned about both—just keep in mind the flu has proven much more deadly for Americans.
“We just want people to give it the respect its due and take appropriate precautions," says Willeford.