TITLE: Coronavirus explained
By Tuesday, the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States had grown to at least 760 cases, with clusters in New York, Washington state and California, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking reports and confirming them with local health departments.
The number of cases in the U.S. and worldwide is the subject of some debate, as testing has been rolled out unevenly and the criteria for diagnosis (through clinical means or a lab test) has varied from country-to-country.
Despite the growing number of lab-confirmed cases in the U.S., the figures pale in comparison, for instance, to the seasonal flu, which kills an estimated 12,000 to 61,000 people per year and affects between 9 million and 45 million people in the country alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Phelps is now self-quarantined at home. Until Tuesday, she couldn't get in touch with her mother at all. The phone lines at Life Care were busy, and many families nervously emailed each other when they couldn't get through to the nursing home.
"All the families are really worried, not knowing if our loved ones are even alive, if they have the virus," Phelps told ABC News via Skype.
Some of the families were trying to reach nursing home residents who have dementia, are bedridden or who have had strokes that affect their speaking ability, meaning they aren't able to talk over the phone. Getting in touch with Life Care was their only option.
"None of us can get through, and nobody's allowed in there, so we're just shut out," said Phelps, who's also worried about her own health after she had cancer last year. Older adults and those with underlying health conditions face a greater risk of complications from COVID-19.