Health experts warn flu risks greater than coronavirus

Health departments and hospitals around the Bay Area are receiving calls from worried or sometimes frantic people about whether they've contracted the deadly coronavirus. 

There are plenty of rumors about the coronavirus spreading to the Bay Area and whether public officials are keeping it all quiet. 

Contra Costa County's Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano put an end to those rumors. 

"There are no confirmed cases of this novel coronavirus in Contra Costa County nor in the Bay Area as a whole," said Farnitano. 

All local health departments are in constant communication with each other and the state of California, as well as the Center for Disease Control. 

Health officials assured that if there is an outbreak in the Bay Area, residents will be made aware immediately. 

Dr. Farnitano says public concern is elevated right now. 

"It is in the middle of cold and flu season. We get, you know, many people this time of year who have coughs and colds and fevers," he said. 

Residents in Walnut Creek are mostly unafraid. 

"I wash my hands a little more but nothing more than normal concern of the other viruses that came out," said Eloise Mondfrans. 

"I think it raises everyone's awareness about it so that you take extra precaution when you're out," said another resident Lynnette Ferro. 

But one young man takes a far more cautious approach. 

"I'm very concerned because if one person can get ill, another person can get ill as well. It's like, you know, the domino effect," said Sean Lapuz.

Dr. Farnitano says the flu is what people should be worried about. 

Nationwide, several million people will get the flu this season, more than 140,000 will be hospitalized and 8,000 will die. 

"The general population in the Bay Area is not at risk for the (coronavirus) if they haven't traveled to the infected area in the last 14 days," the doctor said. "So, it's much more likely to have one of the more common colds or flus."