The number of deaths and infections associated with the Wuhan Coronavirus has risen as the Los Angeles County reports its first case of the disease.

The patient had recently traveled from Wuhan City, China— the epicenter of the outbreak that has killed 56 people and sickened another 2,000.

“The infected person presented themselves for care once they noticed that they were not feeling well and is currently receiving medical treatment,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a news release.

The department is working to identify people who may have had close contact with the person and is monitoring them for symptoms of the illness, according to the release.

A fifth US case is now being reported in Arizona. The patient had previously visited Wuhan.

A fifth U.S. case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Arizona’s Maricopa County. A statement released on Sunday from the Arizona Department of Health Services described the patient as “a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing.”

Back in China, reports stated that millions left Wuhan, China, before officials quarantined the city. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization indicates that it still needs more data before it can declare an international public health emergency.

Wuhan’s mayor said on Sunday that there could be about 1,000 more confirmed cases of the virus in the city. About 5 million people left Wuhan before travel was restricted, and nine million people are currently living there. Wuhan and more than a dozen other cities are currently in lockdown to restrict the virus’ spread.

The World Health Organization’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is traveling to Beijing to meet with government and health officials. According to the organization, more data needs to be collected before the virus, which can spread through human-to-human contact, is declared a global health emergency.

One positive bit of news to keep in mind as officials confirm cases within the United States is that the coronavirus also causes SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). While there were 774 deaths worldwide, thanks to American medicine, nobody in this country died as a result of the infection.

In the United States, only eight persons were laboratory-confirmed as SARS cases. There were no SARS-related deaths in the United States. All of the eight persons with laboratory-confirmed SARS had traveled to areas where SARS-CoV transmission was occurring.

Additionally, within the next 3 months, a newly organized vaccine research group at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will likely test the first of a number of potential experimental vaccines.

Three months from gene sequence to initial human testing would be the fastest the agency has ever gotten such a vaccine off the ground, according to Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases within NIH.

‘I told them, “you are going to have your baptism of fire, folks”,’ Fauci said of his inaugural address to the group last week.

The bad news: Unlike SARS, people can spread the Wuhan Coronavirus during the symptomless incubation period. Chinese officials indicate the outbreak was likely to continue for some time.

The Chinese government warned today (Jan. 26) the new coronavirus spreading through the country appears to be contagious as much as two weeks before symptoms appear.

In a press briefing, the head of China’s National Health Commission, Ma Xiaowei, said scientists’ understanding of the virus was still “limited” and the outbreak was likely to continue for “some time,” according to the South China Morning Post.

Most of the patients originally diagnosed with the virus were exposed at the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, which also trades in wild animals believed to be the source of the infection. Genetic analysis suggests the new coronavirus originated in fruit bats, according to China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. That gives it a common ancestor with the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus.

Part of the challenge in handling the spreading disease is the unease created by social media streaming images of collapsing patients and soldiers in hazmat suits.

Disturbing videos have emerged purporting to show people collapsing in the streets of the Chinese city at the centre of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Dozens of videos tagged as coming from Wuhan show people lying in the street after collapsing where they stand or being tended to by medics as people in face masks rush to help.

The Chinese government is so concerned that it has issued a blanket ban on wildlife trade.

Health authorities have linked exotic animals sold at a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan to the new coronavirus, which has killed 80 people and infected more than 2,500 others within China, and spread around the world.

The ban goes into effect immediately and will continue until the end of the “national epidemic”.

In addition, wildlife breeding centres will be quarantined, regulations strictly enforced, and the public warned not to eat wild game products, according to the orders backed by three government agencies.

 

 
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