Health officials say the number of deaths from the devastating January coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is now more than 7,000, with most fatalities linked to a new strain of the virus.
At least 1,200 people have died since the outbreak began, including nearly 500 in New York City, where more than 100 people died, according to the New York State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
It is unclear how many more deaths may have been linked to the new coronaviruses.
The new coronivirus strain is similar to the strain that led to a huge outbreak in 2009 in parts of Asia, including India and China.
It can spread from person to person, and some coronavires are found to be resistant to antibiotics.
The new strain is also much more contagious and can spread faster than the previous strain, which was also highly contagious.
The Department of Homeland Security has ordered a major public health campaign to educate people about the risks and potential complications of the new strain, officials said.
The department also has urged states to ramp up public health screenings and vaccinate as many people as possible.
The agency also has started sending letters to people who were previously tested for coronaviral illness and asking them to check their health records.
It has also urged people to report suspicious activity to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state health department said.
The virus has also caused some families to abandon their children in droves, officials have said.
Some of the cases of people who have died from the virus have occurred in hospitals, where the death toll is still rising.