The second US case of deadly coronavirus has been confirmed in Chicago, Illinois, 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 two students, one at Texas A&M University, who had traveled from Wuhan and another student at Tennessee Tech University.
Doctors also announced that another 43 people came into contact with the first confirmed US patient, who is being quarantined in Washington state
So far, 897 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
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
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
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. Pictured: The coronavirus strain
For the Texas A&M 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
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 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.
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.
He was diagnosed with the virus on Monday and is currently in stable condition, but still in qurantine.
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.
Arriving passengers from Asia, airline staff and airport staff at the Los Angeles International Airport take precautionary measures donning face masks
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
So far, there are at least 850 cases confirmed 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, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the US.
Cases are also suspected in Mexico, Colombia, the Philippines, the UK and Australia.
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.
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.’
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.
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.’