The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week reported that the coronavirus outbreak was dangerous but not a serious concern for US Citizens. This has changed dramatically over the last 48 hours. The CDC now says the virus does appear to have mutated and described the outbreak as a “rapidly changing situation.” The virus has now killed over 110 people in China and reported sickened to over 3,000 more. Person-to-person spread is occurring in China. Chinese officials have traced the outbreak to a live animal and seafood market.
CDC officials monitoring the coronavirus in the U.S. now say there are currently 100 + “people under investigation” across 25 states, noting that the number “will only increase” as the outbreak in China continues. There are five (5) confirmed cases in four (4) states including Illinois (1), California (2), Arizona (1), and Washington (1). All five cases confirmed in the U.S. have been in those who traveled to Wuhan recently. Since the first cases were reported in early December, the virus has been found to be transmissible between humans. Older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for this severe disease.
There has and continues to be concerns for people who have traveled to the region as well as travelers from other destinations that have been affected by the virus. If you traveled to China recently and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
The coronavirus outbreak is expanding to other countries. This includes countries like Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Philippines (and other Southeast Asia countries). Additionally, it said those who have returned from traveling in all parts of China with symptoms and those who have had contact with coronavirus patients may be asked to take additional measures. A local Wuhan province Doctor died from treating area patients.
Chinese officials in Wuhan are acting on this and have a 30-day time frame to build a new hospital to just deal with the coronavirus outbreak. While the new coronavirus has not shown death rates like MERS and SARS — which infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774 in a pandemic that ripped through Asia in 2002 and 2003 — so little is known about it that health authorities are calling for vigilance. Some Chinese health officials fear this could reach 10,000 or more people in the coming 90 days.
In addition, this outbreak has had a major effect on tourism in these areas. As of today, several tour companies have canceled spring dates. Cruise lines are avoiding any ports that might have exposure of coronavirus to passengers. The Stock Market has also been affected by the coronavirus outbreak as tour and travel companies (hotels, airlines, cruise companies, and travel package companies) have lost ground in the market. Travelers visiting or traveling through major US International Airports are subject to be screened.