Health

US testing 12 patients for deadly coronavirus including a Texas A&M University student


The second US case of deadly coronavirus has been confirmed in Chicago, Illinois as dozens get tested across the country, including New York, health officials say

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the patient is a 60-year-old woman who traveled to Wuhan, China, where the virus originated, in late December. 

She arrived at O’Hare International Airport on January 13 – meaning it has been 11 days since she returned to the US – but did not begin experiencing symptoms until several days later.

Health officials say the woman appears to be well and in stable condition. She is in isolation, but it is unclear which hospital she is at. 

The CDC said the woman did not have any travel companions and that her contacts since developing symptoms are believed to be limited to people in her household, who will also be monitored. 

It comes as health officials reveal they are testing 63 people in 22 states including four people who were under isolation in New York State.

Governor Andrew Curomo said one test has already come back negative and the other three are still pending results.  

Doctors also announced that another 43 people came into contact with the first confirmed US patient – a man in his 30s – who is being quarantined in Washington state 

So far, 923 people people have fallen ill since December, mostly in China. As of Friday, 26 people have died.  

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The second US case of coronavirus has been confirmed in a 60-year-old woman who traveled to Chicago, Illinois, from Wuhan, China - where the virus originated. Pictured: Passengers wearing masks arrive at O'Hare International Airport, Thursday

The second US case of coronavirus has been confirmed in a 60-year-old woman who traveled to Chicago, Illinois, from Wuhan, China – where the virus originated. Pictured: Passengers wearing masks arrive at O’Hare International Airport, Thursday

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the woman traveled to Wuhan in late December and arrived back in the US on January 13. Pictured: Passengers wearing masks arrive at O'Hare International Airport, Thursday

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the woman traveled to Wuhan in late December and arrived back in the US on January 13. Pictured: Passengers wearing masks arrive at O’Hare International Airport, Thursday

Meanwhile, an additional 63 patients across 22 states are being tested for coronavirus. Pictured: Passengers from Asia and airline staff wearing masks at Los Angeles International Airport

Meanwhile, an additional 63 patients across 22 states are being tested for coronavirus. Pictured: Passengers from Asia and airline staff wearing masks at Los Angeles International Airport

Four people are in isolation in New York being tested for coronavirus - one of which has come back negative and three that are pending. Pictured: A worker wears a mask in Manhattan's Chinatown district of New York City on Friday

Four people are in isolation in New York being tested for coronavirus – one of which has come back negative and three that are pending. Pictured: A worker wears a mask in Manhattan’s Chinatown district of New York City on Friday

In addition to the confirmed cases in Washington and Illinois, cases are suspected in California - particularly in the Bay Area and in Alameda County-  in Texas and in Tennessee

In addition to the confirmed cases in Washington and Illinois, cases are suspected in California – particularly in the Bay Area and in Alameda County-  in Texas and in Tennessee

The strain, known as 2019-nCov, is believed to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan. Pictured: Chief nurse Ma Jing holds a coronavirus patient's hand in the ICU Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan on Friday

The strain, known as 2019-nCov, is believed to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan. Pictured: Chief nurse Ma Jing holds a coronavirus patient’s hand in the ICU Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan on Friday 

Preliminary research suggests the virus was passed to humans from snakes or bats. Pictured: The coronavirus strain

But, this week, Chinese health officials reported that some cases have been caused by human-to-human transmission. Pictured: The coronavirus strain

Preliminary research suggests the virus was passed to humans from snakes or bats. But, this week, Chinese health officials reported that some cases have been caused by human-to-human transmission. Pictured, left and right: The coronavirus strain 

‘In 20 years of working on epidemic preparedness, I can’t say that I’ve been more concerned than I am about the current virus,’ Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations in Davos, Switzerland, told Channel 4.

He explained that the current virus can cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe, so people who may not know they’re infected may be spread the disease.

‘The problem is that people who have very mild illness in the middle of flu season…may not even realize that they have this virus and they may continue to move around, they may continue to spread the infection.’

Among the two people being tested are two students, one from Texas A&M University and another from Tennessee Tech University.

For the Texas student, Brazos County Health District officials said the male student had ‘mild’ symptoms that resembled the coronavirus.

Results of tests will be announced to the public if the patient tests positive for coronavirus.

Officials said the patient is currently being kept isolated at home and that it is safe for student to attend classes. 

‘This patient did travel to the area of concern in China within the last 14 days and thankfully had mild upper respiratory symptoms, and he was improving,’ said Dr Eric Wilke with the Brazos County Health Department.

‘I believe the time the patient presented at the emergency department, it was more out of concern,’ said Dr. Eric Wilke with the Brazos County Health Department. 

WHEN ARE PATIENTS  CONTAGIOUS? 

CDC officials are not 100 percent clear on when coronavirus patients are contagious but have said they suspect an incubation period of two to 14 days from exposure. 

Officials have warned that patients are most contagious after they begin showing symptoms but the disease can spread at a ‘much lower rate’ when asymptomatic.  

In the case of the Washington state man, experts say he was unlikely to have transmitted the disease to anyone because he sought treatment immediately after showing symptoms. 

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Department of Health said they decided to test the student because had ‘very mild symptoms’ and had a recent concerning travel history that met the criteria for testing.

No results have been confirmed and the student is being kept in isolation. 

Los Angeles International Airport was also on high alert after a passenger who arrived on Wednesday was sent to hospital after he or she appeared to be ill.

The unnamed passenger arrived on an American Airlines flight from Mexico City around 7pm, reported CBS Los Angeles.

However, it remains unclear if the passenger is from Mexico City, or if they originated from another city. 

Several people in California, particularly in Alameda County and the Bay Area, are also being examined to see if they have the virus that resembles SARS. 

Another being tested is a student at Tennessee Tech University (pictured) who had a 'concerning' travel history, health officials said

Another being tested is a student at Tennessee Tech University (pictured) who had a ‘concerning’ travel history, health officials said 

One person being tested is a male student at Texas A&M University (pictured), who traveled to Wuhan, where the virus originated

One person being tested is a male student at Texas A&M University (pictured), who traveled to Wuhan, where the virus originated

In light of recent developments, the US announced it is pulling most of its diplomats and their families from the consulate general in Wuhan and the State Department issued its strongest travel advisory warning of Level 4: Do Not Travel reserved for countries such as North Korea and Iran. 

The very first patient, who is being treated in Washington state, is also being kept in quarantine at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, outside of Seattle.  

The unidentified male, who is his 30s and lives in Snohomish County, had traveled by himself from Wuhan but did not visit any of the markets at the epicenter of the outbreak. 

The patient in Washington is currently being cared for by a few nurses and a robot doctor than check his vital and can communicate with doctors via a large screen

The patient in Washington is currently being cared for by a few nurses and a robot doctor than check his vital and can communicate with doctors via a large screen

He reportedly had no symptoms upon arrival in the US the virus but, after reading about the outbreak online and developing symptoms, he contacted his doctor.

The patient allegedly sought treatment on January 16 and was tested the following day.

Health officials said he was diagnosed with the virus on Monday, January 20, and is currently in stable condition, but still in quarantine.

Authorities have emphasized that risk to the public is low and said there was no reason to panic. 

To limit the spread of the virus the man is currently being treated by a few staff members and a robot.

The robot has a stethoscope attached to take the man’s vitals and a large screen so doctors can communicate with him, Dr George Diaz, chief of the infectious disease division at the Providence Regional Medical Center, told CNN.  

‘The nursing staff in the room move the robot around so we can see the patient in the screen, talk to him,’ Dr Diaz told the network.

It remains unclear when the patient will be discharged but the CDC will make the final call on that matter. 

‘They’re looking for ongoing presence of the virus. They’re looking to see when the patient is no longer contagious,’ Dr Diaz told CNN.

According to The Associated Press, nurses providing care to the patient had previously trained for Ebola patients. 

Their protective gear includes hoods with plastic face shields and respirators that circulate filtered air.

All disposable gloves and gowns, as well as linens, are being bagged until the CDC provides instructions on how to dispose of them.

‘We have been preparing for this since 2015,’ Robin Addison, one of the nurses and co-leader of the hospital’s biocontainment team told AP.  

Providence Regional Medical Center is one of approximately 150 US hospitals that can test patients with suspected contagious diseases that is provided training money by Congress. 

Arriving passengers from Asia, airline staff and airport staff at Los Angeles International Airport take precautionary measures donning face masks on Friday

Arriving passengers from Asia, airline staff and airport staff at Los Angeles International Airport take precautionary measures donning face masks on Friday

The city of Wuhan is currently on lockdown, with no planes or trains allowed to leave the city and transportation within the city - including buses, subway and ferries - suspended. Pictured: A medical worker checks on a patient in the ICU of Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan on Friday

The city of Wuhan is currently on lockdown, with no planes or trains allowed to leave the city and transportation within the city – including buses, subway and ferries – suspended. Pictured: A medical worker checks on a patient in the ICU of Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan on Friday 

Celebrations scheduled for the Lunar New Year this weekend have been canceled in Beijing and Hong Kong. Pictured: Medical workers cheer for each other in the ICU of Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan on Friday

Celebrations scheduled for the Lunar New Year this weekend have been canceled in Beijing and Hong Kong. Pictured: Medical workers cheer for each other in the ICU of Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan on Friday 

So far, there are more than 900 cases - more than 800 of which are in China - worldwide, reaching as far as the US

So far, there are more than 900 cases – more than 800 of which are in China – worldwide, reaching as far as the US 

First reported in China in December 2019, the strain, known as 2019-nCov, is believed to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan, a city 700 miles south of the capital of Beijing.

While preliminary research suggests the virus was passed to humans from snakes, Chinese health officials reported this week that some cases have been caused by human-to-human transmission increasing the risk of it spreading.

In one example, one doctor and 13 nurses who were treating a neurosurgery patient unknown to be carrying the virus were all infected by it.

Aside from China, cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the US.  

Cases are also suspected in Mexico, Colombia, the Philippines, the UK and Australia. 

The first European cases were confirmed on Friday with two people in France stricken down.

According to health minister, Agnes Buzyn, one of the cases is a 48-year-old man who traveled to Wuhan and is currently hospitalized in Bordeaux.

The other patient traveled to China as well, but it is unclear where. He or she is currently hospitalized in Paris.  

Experts say the difficulty of containing the coronavirus is that so many patients have mild, cold-like symptoms and don't realize they have the infection – but it can quickly turn deadly

Experts say the difficulty of containing the coronavirus is that so many patients have mild, cold-like symptoms and don’t realize they have the infection – but it can quickly turn deadly

Other developments in the outbreak today include: 

  • Chinese New Year celebrations planned for this weekend have been canceled in Beijing and Hong Kong 
  • An estimated 897 people around the world have been infected with coronavirus and 26 have died 
  • Japan confirmed its second case and a fifth patient has been diagnosed in Thailand 
  • Footage has emerged reportedly showing military personnel guarding a train station
  • Videos from inside hospitals show patients crammed into overcrowded corridors and laid on the floor 
  • Photos have emerged of Chinese construction workers starting urgent building of a new hospital in Wuhan 

The Wuhan coronavirus is believed to be milder than its cousin, SARS, and it takes longer for symptoms to appear. 

Almost all deaths of the Wuhan coronavirus occurred among older males who had pre-existing conditions, although one death occurred in a 36-year-old man.

There is no cure for the new virus or vaccine to prevent it, and the National Institutes of Health says research to develop a vaccine is in ‘very preliminary stages.’ 

 US STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS ‘DO NOT TRAVEL’ TO WUHAN

The US Department of State has issued its highest travel warning for Wuhan, advising Americans to not travel to the region.

Late on Thursday, officials update its warning from level 2, which means to exercise increased caution, to level 4, which suggests ‘do not travel.’

This puts the city of 11 million people on par with countries such as Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

‘There is an ongoing outbreak of pneumonia first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus,’ the advisory on the department’s website reads.

The US Department of State has issued its highest travel warning for Wuhan, advising Americans to not travel to the region. Pictured: A man wearing a mask at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday

The US Department of State has issued its highest travel warning for Wuhan, advising Americans to not travel to the region. Pictured: A man wearing a mask at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday 

Officials updated its warning from level 2, which means to exercise increased caution, to level 4, which suggests 'do not travel.' Pictured: Travelers with masks at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday

The CDC also issues its highest warning to level 3, which urges Americans to 'avoid unessential travel.' Pictured: Travelers with masks at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday

Officials updated its warning from level 2, which means to exercise increased caution, to level 4, which suggests ‘do not travel.’ The CDC also issues its highest warning to level 3, which urges Americans to ‘avoid unessential travel.’ Pictured, left and right: Travelers with masks at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday

‘In an effort to contain the novel coronavirus, the Chinese authorities have suspended air and rail travel in the area around Wuhan.’

China, as a whole, remains on a level 2 alert. 

Similarly, the CDC issued its highest travel warning for Wuhan, China due to concerns over the new, mysterious coronavirus.

On Thursday, the agency updated its warning from a level 2 alert which means ‘practice enhanced precautions’ to level 3, which urges Americans to ‘avoid unessential travel.’   

Public health entry screenings are currently taking place Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, John F Kennedy International Airport in New York and San Francisco International Airport. 

NEW YORK CITY MAYOR SAYS CORONAVIRUS IS COMING ‘SOON’ 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said officials are ‘acting on the assumption’ that someone in the Big Apple will eventually be diagnosed with coronavirus.

‘We in New York City, take this very, very seriously,’ de Blasio said at the Office of Emergency Management headquarters in Brooklyn on Friday.

‘There’s no known cases in New York City, [but] we have seen a spread that is so rapid now…that we have to act on the assumption that there will unfortunately be cases sooner rather than later in New York City,’ he said.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases in New York, although four people are in isolation being tested.

One test has come back negative and three are pending results.

Two cases have confirmed in the US, one in Everett, Washington and one in Chicago, Illinois – both of whom traveled to Wuhan before going back to the US.

De Blasio added that all hospitals in the city and healthcare providers are being trained – or have been trained – in how to stop symptoms of the virus. 

CALIFORNIA TODDLER HOSPITALIZED WITH DIFFERENT STRAIN OF CORONAVIRUS 

A three-year-old girl from California has been hospitalized for more than a month with coronavirus, but it is a different and less severe strain than the one that has killed at least 26 in China.

Aliyah Cardoza, three (pictured), of Azusa, California, has been hospitalized for more than a month with the NL63 strain of the coronavirus

Aliyah Cardoza, three (pictured), of Azusa, California, has been hospitalized for more than a month with the NL63 strain of the coronavirus

Aliyah Cardoza, from Azusa, was hospitalized on December 23 with what appeared to be common flu symptoms including a fever and a cough.

But, after running several tests, doctors soon diagnosed her with  coronovavirus, Mycoplasma, acute respiratory syndrome and pneumonia. 

Aliyah is currently the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) with a breathing tube and a chest tube, according to her mother, Gloria Aguilera. 

The strain of coronavirus Aliyah has is known as NL63.

The NL63 strain is different than the 2019-nCoV strain, also known as the Novel Coronavirus, that killed 25 people and sickened hundreds in China, leading the country to send three cities into lockdown to stop it from spreading.

 Read the full story here.

 

LOCKDOWN EXPANDS IN CHINA AS CORONAVIRUS SPREADS 

China expanded its lockdown on Friday to more than 36 million people in an attempt to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Transportation in and out of Wuhan has been shut down since Wednesday, but at least 12 other cities in the Hubei province have also been shut down.

According to the Associated Press, the population under lockdown is bigger than that of London, Moscow, New York and Paris combined. 

In addition, several popular tourist destinations have been shut down including Beijing’s Forbidden City, Shanghai Disneyland and other temples.

Lunar New Year celebrations have also been canceled in Beijing and Hong Kong.

CHINA SAYS IT PLANS TO BUILD 1,000-BED HOSPITAL IN 10 DAYS

On Friday, China announced plans to build a 1,000-bed hospital in just 10 days that will be solely dedicated to treating coronavirus patients.

The hospital, which will be in Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak – is being modeled after Xiaotangshan Hospital, a temporary medical center that was built in Beijing to treat patients of the SARS outbreak from 2002 to 2004.

The new hospital is expected to be completed and open on February 3.

It comes after dozens of videos have circulated on social media of overcrowded hospitals where patients line hallways from wall to wall.

On China’s Twitter-like platform, Weibo, dozens said they or family members had gone to hospitals to get tested but were turned away because staff said they were at capacity.

According to the Associated Press, at least eight hospitals in Wuhan have asked for donations of protective medical gear such as masks, googles and gowns. 

Wuhan authorities announced on Friday that it plans to build a new 1,000-bed hospital in just 10 days that will be dedicated to treating coronavirus patients (pictured)

Wuhan authorities announced on Friday that it plans to build a new 1,000-bed hospital in just 10 days that will be dedicated to treating coronavirus patients (pictured)

 EXPERTS FEAR IT’S TOO LATE FOR A LOCKDOWN OF CHINA

China has been taking unprecedented measures in an effort to stop the new coronavirus from spreading, but experts fear it may be too late.

On Thursday, authorities announced that planes, trains and buses leaving Wuhan were canceled. Tollways on roads out of the city were also shut down. 

Additionally, all public transportation within the city would be suspended, including buses, subways and ferries.

China has also closed several tourism attractions and cultural sites including Beijing’s Forbidden City, which saw 19 million visitors last year.

City authorities also canceled Lunar New Year events in the nation’s capital as well as temple fairs ‘to strengthen prevention and support’.   

With the deadly virus reaching so many cities in China and so many countries abroad in such a short time frame, many fear measures came too little too late.

‘I think we have passed the golden period of control and prevention,’ Guan Yi, an expert on viruses at Hong Kong University, told Agence France-Presse.  

Yi, who left Wuhan ahead of the lockdown, said many people left ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which began Friday.

He says many residents could have been incubating the virus ‘on their way out of Wuhan.’  

CORONAVIRUS: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR 

What is this virus?

The virus has been identified as a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild respiratory infections such as the common cold.

But coronaviruses can also be deadly. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.

Can it kill?

Yes. 26 people have so far died after testing positive for the virus. What are the symptoms?

Its symptoms are typically a fever, cough and trouble breathing, but some patients have developed pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening infection that causes inflammation of the small air sacs in the lungs. People carrying the novel coronavirus may only have mild symptoms, such as a sore throat. They may assume they have a common cold and not seek medical attention, experts fear.

How is it detected?

The virus’s genetic sequencing was released by scientists in China to the rest of the world to enable other countries to quickly diagnose potential new cases. This helps other countries respond quickly to disease outbreaks.

To contain the virus, airports are detecting infected people with temperature checks. But as with every virus, it has an incubation period, meaning detection is not always possible because symptoms have not appeared yet.

How did it start and spread?

The first cases identified were among people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.

Cases have since been identified elsewhere which could have been spread through human-to-human transmission.

What are countries doing to prevent the spread?

Countries in Asia have stepped up airport surveillance. They include Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.

Australia and the US are also screening patients for a high temperature, and the UK announced it will screen passengers returning from Wuhan.

Is it similar to anything we’ve ever seen before?

Experts have compared it to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The epidemic started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere



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