Five cases of Coronavirus confirmed in the United States as of Monday, January 27
There are at least five confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S., a number the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts will continue to climb. To date, the coronavirus has sickened thousands in China and is being blamed for at least 80 deaths in that country with others infected in more than a dozen countries including the U.S.
Coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses that usually contaminate animals. But like with SARS in the past, experts say the coronavirus mutated to infect humans on a large scale.
Despite its impact in China, the CDC maintains that the risk to Americans is low. But there’s still a lot about the virus, its symptoms and how easily it spreads that health officials don’t know.
“We need to be preparing as if this is a pandemic, but I continue to hope that it is not,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
All five Americans with confirmed cases of coronavirus had recently returned from Wuhan, a large city in Central China, according to experts.
The first confirmed coronavirus patient in the US, a man in his 30s, sought treatment at an urgent care center in the state after returning from Wuhan. The urgent care center sent his samples to the CDC, which confirmed he had the coronavirus. The man entered care at a hospital in Everett, about 30 miles north of Seattle, WA on January 23. He’s receiving treatment via a mobile isolation unit where a robot takes his vital signs.
He’s in stable condition, said Dr. George Diaz, the man’s physician, and an infectious disease expert. He’ll undergo additional testing until he’s no longer contagious.
There are also two confirmed cases in California, one in Arizona, and another in Chicago.
The virus was already having an impact on global markets as of January 27, and development will surely unfold throughout the week.
Coronavirus Symptoms & Prevention
According to the World Health Organization’s website, common signs of Coronavirus infection include respiratory symptoms, a fever, cough, shortness of breath and/or breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, an infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection include regular hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
Anyone exhibiting symptoms, especially coughing or sneezing should avoid close contact with others.
Travelers should also be advised that the CDC and Customs and Border Protection have begun screening passengers from China for the coronavirus at three major U.S. airports: San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.
SOURCES: CNN, CDC, World Health Organization