Coronavirus Has Been Confirmed in the Unted States

Coronavirus

The coronavirus was first reported in 2012, in Saudia Arabia, and has since caused illness in more than 25 countries. Most recently, China and the United States have reports of this deadly, Wuhan Coronavirus hitting its citizens. Due to the outbreak, serious steps to detect coronavirus have been taken.   

Major cities in China, including the capital of Beijing and the virus-hit Wuhan, have banned all large gatherings over the coming Lunar New Year festival, their most important holiday, in an effort to contain the rapidly spreading outbreak of the coronavirus.

On Thursday night, Jan. 23, 2020, authorities announced extended travel restrictions that have been imposed on Wuhan to surrounding municipalities. Shutting down travel networks and attempting to quarantine 25 million people, which is more than the entire population of Florida. 

Doctors warned that the controls that the Communist Party authorities have placed are not enough to stop the spread of the pneumonia-like virus, which has now killed 17 people in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province. The number of infected people in China stood at 617 on Thursday afternoon. 

Guan Yi, a virologist who helped identify severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, visited Wuhan. From his self-imposed quarantine, he told Caixin magazine: “We have passed through the ‘golden period’ for prevention and control. What’s more, we’ve got the holiday traffic rush and a dereliction of duty from certain officials. A bigger outbreak is certain.”  

Initially, authorities said that the coronavirus, which began in the Wuhan food market selling exotic animals for consumption, was mild and they did not believe it could be transmitted from person-to-person. That of course changed this week when the number of people infected began to rapidly rise. The virus has a 14-day incubation period. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the developments of the outbreak.  

The first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in the United States on Jan. 21, 2020. A man in Washington state contracted the disease. The man, in his 30s, developed symptoms after returning from a trip to the region around Wuhan where the outbreak began. He returned to America on Jan. 15, two days before three major United States airlines instituted passenger screening. He had no symptoms at that time. 

Later, upon reading about the new mysterious coronavirus online that caused fever and respiratory illness, he contacted his doctor and informed them of his recent trip. Health officials have declined to identify the man but states that the man has a mild case of pneumonia and has been very cooperative and doing well. 

“We’re very comfortable. The patient is isolated and poses little risk to the staff or general public,” Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer at the Snohomish Health District (Washinton state) and Director of the CDC’s National Center Immunization and Respiratory Disease Dr. Nany Messonier said: “There is new information hour by hour, day by day, that we are tracking and following closely. The key issue we all need to understand is how easily and sustainably the virus is spread from human to human.” The CDC has deployed staff overseas to work closely with the ministries of health in China and Thailand. 

January 17 and 18, 2020, screening started at New York’s Kennedy International Airport, San Fransico International, and Los Angeles International. Authorities plan on extending screenings to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Chicago O’Hare International over the next few days. All passengers that plan on arriving in other cities will be issued new tickets taking them to one of the five screening airports. 

Friday, Jan. 24, a woman in her 60s was confirmed in Chicago to be diagnosed with the coronavirus. She felt sick upon her return and was admitted to the hospital “where infection control measures were taken to reduce the risk of transmission to other individuals” the CDC said in a press release. They stated that they are “investigating locations where this patient went after returning to Illinois and are identifying any close contacts who were possibly exposed.”

On Saturday, Jan. 25, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said that her government is raising its response level to the highest emergency level and closing schools for two weeks as authorities race to contain the deadly coronavirus.

The coronavirus has now taken the lives of 82 people and 2,700 cases are being evaluated at this time. There have been five total confirmed cases in Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington in the United States. Two cases in New Hampshire are being monitored for the coronavirus. Currently, these cases have not been confirmed. Officials are concerned at the rate that the virus is spreading, and have yet to establish how exactly it is being transferred from human-to-human. China’s Health Minister Ma Xiaowei, came out and stated that the coronavirus can spread by human contact before symptoms even occur. He offered no further explanation as to why he believes this to be the case.

The CDC originally thought that the coronavirus was more like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory) or MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), however, this seems not to be the case. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, stated on Monday, Jan. 27, “We don’t know for sure if this virus will behave exactly the same way.”

As of Jan. 28, the coronavirus has now taken the lives of 106 people and 4,500 other people are currently being observed and treated.

By Sheena Robertson  

Sources:

 NYTimes: First Patient With Wuhan Coronavirus Is Identified in the U.S.
Washington Post: Chinese cities cancel New Year celebrations, travel ban widens in effort to stop coronavirus outbreak
CDC: Coronavirus
CBSNEWS: China coronavirus outbreak: Hong Kong declares emergency and closes schools
BBC: Second coronavirus patient confirmed in US

Image Courtesy of NIH Image Gallery’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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