The Trump administration announced national public health emergency and imposed travel restrictions.
As of today, there are approximately 12,000 cases of Wuhan Coronavirus infections worldwide. The death toll stands at 259, with 26 nations or administrative areas reporting patients who are infected with the pathogen.
A man has now tested positive for the Wuhan Coronavirus in the San Francisco Bay Area, bringing the number of confirmed U.S. cases of the virus to seven.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday that a Santa Clara County man tested positive for the virus in the third case to hit the state of California. Business Insider reported that the man had recently traveled from Wuhan and Shanghai, and arrived back in the U.S. at the San Jose International Airport one week ago.
Since his return on Jan. 24, officials said, the man left his home twice to seek medical care, but has not been hospitalized and is being treated in his home. Santa Clara County health officer Dr. Sara Cody said during a press conference Friday that the man had come into contact with “very few individuals” since arriving back from China.
“We do not have evidence to suggest that the novel coronavirus is circulating in the Bay Area, in Santa Clara Country, or really in Northern California,” Cody told reporters. “Our assessment is that the public at large is still at low risk, because this case was careful to self-isolate at home for the entire time since he returned from China.”
One of the challenges in trying to contain the pathogen and treat the illness it causes is that it there is limited data available on how it spreads. It is now being revealed by the nation’s top infectious disease doctor that people can, indeed, spread the Wuhan coronavirus before symptoms set in.
German researchers found that the virus was transmitted by people without symptoms in five instances in one cluster of people: from a parent to a daughter; from that daughter to two colleagues; and from one of those colleagues to two other coworkers.
“There’s no doubt after reading this paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “This study lays the question to rest.”
This is an important piece of information, as this finding means more robust quarantine and containment procedures will be implemented once an infection has been identified.
On Friday, the Trump administration declared the coronavirus a national public health emergency and announced that certain foreign nationals deemed to pose a risk of transmitting the disease will temporarily be denied entry to the country. Additionally, some returning American citizens potentially at risk will also be quarantined.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that President Donald Trump signed an order for the U.S. to deny entry to any foreign nationals who have traveled in China within the past two weeks, aside from the immediate family of U.S. citizens.
Azar, speaking to reporters at the White House, also said that any U.S. citizens who have been in China’s Hubei province — home of Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus — within the last 14 days “will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they’re provided proper medical care and health screening.” Also starting Sunday, U.S. citizens returning from other parts of mainland China will also face screenings and two weeks of monitoring and self-quarantine.
The risk to the American public is “low” at this time, said Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Azar called the measures “fairly incremental” and “appropriate, preventative steps.” Yet, officials said they wanted to ensure it would remain a low risk to Americans.
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