Surgeon General Jerome Adams, a member of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, reacted on Thursday to the fact that an Amazon employee in Seattle contracted the novel coronavirus, saying: “There is no evidence right now that the coronavirus can be spread through mail.”
Amazon said the employee is the first among its U.S. workforce to fall ill with COVID-19, which has infected thousands of people around the world. It was not immediately clear how the employee contracted the virus.
The news comes after at least two Amazon employees in Italy – which has seen a surge of coronavirus cases in recent weeks – were confirmed to have the virus as well, according to Bloomberg.
“We heard [National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director] Tony Fauci, the world’s expert in this area, comment on this and there is no evidence right now that the coronavirus can be spread through mail, no other coronavirus has been spread through mail,” Adams said on Thursday, responding to fears.
A statement from Amazon said, “We are recommending that employees in Seattle/ Bellevue who are able to work from home do so through the end of the month.”
“Here’s what I want people to know, Seattle actually has a lot of cases because of the nursing home situation, there is community spread going on there, it is much more likely that the person who works at Amazon in Seattle got it in the community than that he got it through the mail,” Adams said on Thursday.
Adams referenced the fact that the majority of cases in Washington involve patients who are residents of the Life Care Center in Kirkland, where there is currently an outbreak. A Kirkland nursing home resident with underlying medical conditions died last week after the patient was confirmed to have the virus two days before, according to University of Washington Medicine.
He went on to explain the measures people can take to protect themselves, including washing hands with soap for 20 seconds, covering a cough and staying away from people who are sick.
“Most people who get coronavirus are going to have a mild illness. It will be like a bad cold or the flu and most people are going to recover,” Adams said. “I want people to remember, 18,000 people have died from the flu in the United States this year. We are just over 100 people who have gotten the coronavirus.”
President Trump tweeted on Thursday that 129 people in the United States contracted the virus and 11 people have died.
Trump wrote, “We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”
On Thursday, Adams pointed to a recent tweet where he wrote, “Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
“We’re going to see more cases. Unfortunately, we’re likely to see more deaths,” Adams noted, adding that if people and companies take precautionary measures it will help contain the number of cases and deaths.
“There are things institutions can do to minimize large gatherings and help keep their people safe,” he went on to say.
Fox News’ Madeline Farber and Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.