TUESDAY, Jan. 28, 2020 — As the death toll in China’s coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak surpassed 100 on Tuesday, the United States expanded its travel alert and prepared to evacuate American government workers who are in the center of the epidemic.
Overnight, the number of cases of the 2019-nCoV in China rose from 2,835 to 4,515, The New York Times reported. Of those cases, 976 are considered severe. Even more troubling is news that there is a shortage of test kits in the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus infections first appeared, The Times reported. That could mean the number of cases is being underreported at this point, health officials noted.
In the United States, “to date, we have 110 of what we call persons under investigation in 26 states. This is a cumulative number and will only increase. We still have only five confirmed positive [cases] and 32 who have tested negative. We have screened around 2,400 people so far,” Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of the U.S. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a media briefing Monday morning. “At this time in the United States this virus is not spreading in the community. For that reason, we continue to believe the immediate health risk from this new virus to the general American public is low at this time.”
In China, the situation is far more dire. Chinese health officials warned on Sunday that the already rapid spread of the new coronavirus could accelerate even further, The Times reported. Ma Xiaowei, director of the China National Health Commission, noted that people carrying the virus but not showing symptoms could still infect others. The incubation period can vary from one to 14 days, with a typical duration of about 10 days, he said. The fact that people can carry the virus without showing symptoms makes containment especially difficult.
The CDC issued a stronger travel warning Monday afternoon that urged all Americans to avoid any nonessential travel to all of China, not just Wuhan.
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Posted: January 2020