Coronavirus is still dominating the headlines. With 17,000 cases worldwide, most of those infected are in China, where 300 people have died to date. One person has also died in the Philippines, which marked the first death outside of China.
As of today, there are 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States.
- 4 cases in Northern California
- 2 cases in Southern California
- 2 cases in Illinois
- 1 case in Washington
- 1 case in Arizona
- 1 case in Massachusetts
The U.S. has taken preventative measures to prevent or at least slow the spread of the virus in the U.S. Flights from China have been cancelled, the U.S. has barred entry to most non-citizens who visited China in the last few weeks and 200 Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan on a chartered jet landed at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside last week, and remain under a 14-day quarantine, the first such quarantine in the U.S. in 50 years. The goal of that quarantine is to ensure that these passengers do not pose a heath risk to the public.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's national Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said in a briefing on Monday that the extraordinary measures are necessary:
"This is an unprecedented situation and we've taken unprecedented action. This is an aggressive action by the United States, but our goal is to slow this thing down. The growing volume of exported cases to countries throughout the world, and the first death outside of China and person-to-person spread outside of China, including in the U.S., are all cause for concern."
Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody says they announced the first confirmed case there on Friday, but in the last few days, a second case there and two cases in neighboring San Benito county have been confirmed including the second known person-to-person transmission case in the U.S.
Cody says the county could see more confirmed cases, given the large population of residents that travel frequently back and forth to China.
California has the largest Chinese American population in the U.S., with the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles areas home to the largest communities of Chinese Americans in the state.
Meanwhile, Chinese state media is reporting that the virus may be transmitted through the digestive tract. On Sunday, Xinhua reported that scientists have reported finding the virus' genetic material in patient stool and rectal swabs of patients that reported having diarrhea, and not a fever, as an early symptom.
According to Bloomberg:
"The first U.S. case experienced diarrhea before becoming ill with pneumonia and his doctors at the Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in Washington found specimens were positive for 2019-nCoV."
According to scientists, this means that the virus might be transmitted along the 'fecal-oral' route, not from something like a cough. Researchers say they found a similar link in the SARS outbreak, which led to them understanding the limitations of face masks and the importance of cleanliness and hygiene in treatment of patients.