Coronavirus: California doctor wants schools shut IMMEDIATELY as 3 LA men are 'very ill' after Italy ski trip
He says he's been treating the trio after they returned to the country on February 27
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: A California doctor has warned that nothing has worried him in his 30-year medical career as much as the novel coronavirus outbreak and asked officials to close down local schools immediately after revealing that three Los Angeles men are "very ill" after contracting the virus on an Italian ski trip.
Dr Sam Fink, a primary care physician treating coronavirus patients in Tarzana, a Los Angeles suburb, shared that the three men were amongst a group of 14 friends who had all tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting Cortina d'Ampezzo in Northern Italy's Dolomite Mountains.
The three men Fink knows and is treating returned to the US on February 27, while five others also reportedly traveled to Los Angeles County. The other men in the group reside in other parts of the US and abroad.
"I have two patients right now with CV, one hospitalized, and one not, and am close to a third patient," he wrote in a Facebook post. "Essentially, 14 men went on a ski trip to Northern Italy. All have become ill, and all 14 have tested positive for coronavirus. Of the 14, four needed to be hospitalized, and of the four patients, three are very ill as I write this."
"One had a significant pre-existing medical condition. The other three did not, and are relatively young," he continued. "The news out of Northern Italy today is not good."
Italy is currently experiencing the worst COVID-19 breakout in Europe and the second-worst in the world after more than 9,000 cases were reported across the country. And, 463 people have died from the virus already, and in a bid to combat the spread, Premier Giuseppe Conte has imposed a nationwide lockdown with travel restrictions and strict public health measures.
In a bid to stop the epidemic from worsening in the US, Fink asked people to avoid large group events like sporting events and concerts and recommended the shutting down of schools with immediate effect.
"I have practiced for over 30 years, and have seen it all, or so I thought. Nothing has worried me like this. I believe that all schools should be closed immediately and classes conducted online, which is relatively simple," he wrote. "I know that so far, children infected with CV have done relatively well, but they might come home and hug Grandpa, who won't do so well."
"Avoid contact with others as much as possible," he continued. "CV in the United States is at a relatively early stage, but it won't last there for long. Make sure you have any medications you need, as well as supplies, but panicking hurts all of us."
Fink said he hoped he was overreacting to the current crisis but that the outlook did not look good.
"My biggest hope is that I am totally wrong and that you will all wonder in a few weeks what the hell I was talking about," he shared. "But I have a pretty good track record, and I think you should take steps now to protect yourselves and your family. There is little cost to taking extra precaution right now, and the earlier, the better."
The US has 755 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 26 deaths, with 22 of those coming from Washington state.