U.S. pushes for more tests as coronavirus deaths rise


Four more coronavirus patients in Washington state have died, health officials said Monday, bringing the total number of fatalities in the U.S. to six - all of them in Washington state.

Four of the deaths are linked to a nursing facility in Kirkland where a cluster of patients have been confirmed.

The total number of cases of coronavirus - also known as COVID-19 - in Washington state is now 18, said state health officer Dr. Kathy Lofy.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) WASHINGTON STATE HEALTH OFFICER DR. KATHY LOFY, SAYING:

"Unfortunately, we are now starting to find more COVID-19 cases in Washington that appear to be acquired here in Washington. And we now know that the virus is actively spreading in some communities here in Washington."

The number of cases nationwide now up to roughly 100. U.S. lawmakers on Monday tried to calm fears surrounding the spread of the coronavirus by emphasizing plans for a rapid increase in the number of available test kits.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state has one confirmed case, said the Centers for Disease Control now allows New York to conduct its own tests for the virus.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING:

"We want to get our testing capacity as high as possible. I would like to have a goal of 1,000 tests per day capacity within one week because again the more testing the better."

Trump on Monday met with drug company executives where they discussed the ongoing development of a vaccine.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING:

"We're also moving with maximum speed to develop therapies so that we can help people recover as quickly as possible."

Top health officials have said any vaccine is up to 18 months away.

So far, 10 states including California and New York have confirmed or presumed cases.