Metro Detroit woman stockpiles medicine, supplies amid 1st confirmed coronavirus death in U.S.

Posted at 3:18 PM, Feb 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-29 15:50:35-05

(WXYZ) — Officials say the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is likely to become a pandemic.

With the first death in the United States today, the possibility that the respiratory virus will spread in the U.S. is more real. It's important for communities and individuals to prepare.

It’s been more than 16 years since a widespread blackout hit metro Detroit.

Many were caught unprepared which created long lines at stores for needed supplies – that couldn't accept credit cards.

It’s an event Tina Bietler will never forget.

"What got me was no water. Because there was no electricity, water pumps didn't work and taps were useless, and I had a baby on formula," says Bietler.

She has a YouTube channel called "A Happily Ever After Blog."

Since the blackout, she’s always kept emergency bottled water on hand, plenty of extra food in her pantry and extra personal hygiene products.

She has batteries, a radio and flashlights, a stock of cold and flu medications and enough prescription medications for two weeks.

"You see all the time with weather emergencies, a market is cleared out in an instant," says Bietler.

New cases of COVID-19 are confirmed every day – today the first death in the U.S. from the contagious respiratory virus was confirmed in Washington state. The possibility that the illness will appear in Michigan is closer to a reality and the U.S. government is asking everyone to be prepared.

"In the event of a self-quarantine or city or township mandatory quarantine, I just want to make sure that we’re OK."

Medical experts said in a press conference Saturday that most people who have been seriously ill are older or have underlying conditions. offers more information on how to protect yourself before and during a pandemic.