First US Case Of Deadly Corona Virus In Washington State

Henrietta Strickland
February 26, 2020

Editor's note: Information from the New York Times regarding the reported case in the US was also used in this report.

As of midnight Tuesday, the death toll in China had increased from six to nine, and the number of confirmed cases of respiratory problems due to the virus had risen from about 320 to 440, according to the government. However, most are in Wuhan, the central city of 11 million people at the heart of the outbreak.

The Chinese government has provided daily updates on the number of cases in a bid to head off public panic, as millions of people prepare to travel at home and overseas for Lunar New Year celebrations starting this week. A second fast-tracked hospital is slated to be completed February 5, and should start taking patients the following day.

The new virus belongs to the same family of coronaviruses that causes Sars. Symptoms include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.

"Maybe people from other places are more concerned about our health, but (Wuhan) locals actually are continuing to eat, go out and take strolls, go clubbing at night", Helen Cao says.

The outbreak in Wuhan, China was originally linked to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting a possible zoonotic origin to the outbreak.

The researchers said their model used a similar method to a January 17 study by the Imperial College London, which placed the estimate at around 1,700.

"In the early moments of SARS, there was concealment in China".

"The outbreak is at a critical stage, and we estimate an increasing number of infections during the 40 days of Spring Festival travel rush", respiratory disease specialist Zhong Nanshan tells The Washington Post. She was visiting from China and didn't have symptoms during the course of her stay.

Wang says this virus is also concerning because there are still many aspects that aren't well understood by health officials. There are many known types of coronaviruses. The virus can jump from animals to people. China has said it can be passed from person to person, but animals are usually the origin of coronaviruses. More than 800 people died.

As of Tuesday (Jan. 21), a total of 440 cases had been confirmed in China, with Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, the US also having reported cases. Additional cases have been reported in at least 23 countries, including in the United States.

Hong Kong and British scientists have estimated that between 1,300 and 1,700 people in Wuhan may have been infected.

Li Bin, vice minister of China's National Health Commission, at the first state-level news conference since the outbreak, said the new virus is mainly transmitted through respiratory contact, and evidence shows that the coronavirus is also spreading among members of communities. Laboratory testing at the CDC in Atlanta confirmed the patient was infected with the disease.

Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said that, on Jan 19 as the nCoV situation was evolving in China and in the Asian region, federal officials made a decision to expand traveler health checks in people arriving from Wuhan at two more U.S. airports: Atlanta and Chicago.

The man is now hospitalized at Providence Medical Center, where he is in isolation and under monitoring. They said that the patient here is "isolated and poses low risk to staff or to the general public".

A first case of the virus was also reported by media in nearby Hong Kong on Wednesday.

How is the world responding?

Countries around the world have stepped up airport screenings, and in some cases, closed their borders in response to the rapidly evolving outbreak.

But after two days of talks to determine the level of global concern, the World Health Organization on Thursday stopped short of declaring a so-called a public health emergency of worldwide concern - declaration used for the gravest epidemics.

Taiwan also reported its first confirmed case on January 21, adding to worldwide cases found in South Korea, Thailand, and Japan.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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