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Hundreds may be infected in Washington state

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A “boom” of confirmed cases of the coronavirus that has killed almost 3,000 people around the world could already be racing across the U.S. despite ramped-up efforts to contain the outbreak, experts say.

The spread of the virus by “community transmissions is an indication that we could indeed be looking at the tip of the iceberg,” Ogbonnaya Omenka, an assistant professor and public health specialist at Butler University's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, told USA TODAY on Sunday.

Though fewer than 100 U.S. cases have been confirmed thus far, including a handful in Washington state, a researcher there estimates that ” a few hundred” people in the state could actually be infected.

“There are some enormous implications here,” Trevor Bedford, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, posted on Twitter. “I believe we're facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now.”

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