February 1 coronavirus news

10 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:10 a.m. ET, February 1, 2020

Wuhan coronavirus can be spread even without symptoms, says top US infectious disease doctor

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield

The nation’s top infectious disease doctor says a study published Thursday night shows people can spread the Wuhan coronavirus before symptoms set in.

"There’s no doubt after reading this paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring. This study lays the question to rest,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined four Germany business associates who became infected through asymptomatic transmission.

The chain of transmission: It began with a woman in Shanghai whose parents came to visit from Wuhan. They were healthy during their visit, but were later diagnosed as having the coronavirus.

Then, the woman flew from Shanghai to Germany, where she went to workshops and ate meals with German employees. She was healthy with no signs of the disease at that point.

Within eight days, four employees of that company were diagnosed with the coronavirus. Some employees had not attended workshops with the woman -- but they spent time with someone who did.

11:39 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

Face masks and empty streets in China as the coronavirus spreads

The toll of the coronavirus is clearly visible across China and its territories as the outbreak continues to spread.

In densely-populated major cities like Beijing, streets that are normally bustling are now almost empty. Public transit like buses and subway cars have noticeably fewer people -- especially for this time of year, after the Lunar New Year, a typically busy period.

People wearing face masks inside a subway train in Beijing on January 28, 2020.
People wearing face masks inside a subway train in Beijing on January 28, 2020. NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

In Hong Kong, shops are mostly closed, schools are suspended, and employees have been told to work from home.

Afraid of catching the virus, many have decided to barricade themselves at home. Pharmacies and stores have found themselves sold out of supplies, with long lines forming outside as residents stock up.

Hong Kong residents line up to buy face mask at a pharmacy on January 31, 2020.
Hong Kong residents line up to buy face mask at a pharmacy on January 31, 2020. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

That's not to say the city is entirely deserted now. Some people are going on with daily life, buying groceries, walking around, playing Chinese chess in the park -- just all wearing the now-ubiquitous face mask.

Men wear masks as they play Chinese chess in a Beijing park on January 31, 2020.
Men wear masks as they play Chinese chess in a Beijing park on January 31, 2020. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

11:13 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

CDC’s coronavirus quarantine order is first in more than 50 years

From CNN's Jamie Gumbrecht, Michael Nedelman and Jen Christensen

Officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the White House on January 31, 2020.
Officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the White House on January 31, 2020. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for nearly 200 Americans who returned from Wuhan, China, is the first such order in more than 50 years. 

“While we recognize this is an unprecedented action, we are facing an unprecedented public health threat, and this is one of the tools in our toolbox to mitigate the potential impact of this novel virus on the United States,” said the CDC official Nancy Messonnier.

195 Americans, many of them diplomats and their families, flew from Wuhan to California on Wednesday. They’ve been staying at March Air Reserve Base since then.

The last time the US imposed this kind of quarantine order was in the 1960s for smallpox evaluation, said Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.

He said most of the passengers were “exuberant and elated to be out of harm’s way” during their journey from Wuhan, and they understand the need for a longer quarantine. 

US cases: There are now seven confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the US: three in California, one in Washington, one in Arizona, and two in Illinois.

11:01 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

US flight attendant union calls to halt all flights to China

Airline staff at Haneda Airport on January 31, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
Airline staff at Haneda Airport on January 31, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The Association of Flight Attendants, an American union representing 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines, is urging the US government to halt all flights to China until the coronavirus outbreak has been contained.

"The government must work with our airlines to discontinue all service, with consideration for evacuation of flight crew, and with consideration to service that facilitates efforts by public health officials to contain spread of the virus," said AFA president Sara Nelson in a statement.

Read the rest of the statement:

“The coronavirus may be spread by infected persons not yet displaying symptoms. For this reason, it is critical that any crew potentially infected through travel to and from China not be assigned to any additional flights until safely through the fourteen day incubation period. These crews must be pay protected for any scheduled flights and provided with the means to get food and other supplies while remaining out of public contact. This action is also on the AFA communicable disease checklist provided to all of our airlines again on January 24, 2020.
We need responsible leadership from our government and we need it now. We will continue to work with our airlines, who have been exceeding precautions suggested by the administration – albeit now these actions are clearly not enough. This must end now. This is an emergency and our government must take a leadership role, in consultation with all stakeholders, in order to end this public health threat and protect American workers.”
10:21 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

People in China are angry about the outbreak and pushing back against censorship

Analysis from CNN's James Griffiths

World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on January 28, 2020.
World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on January 28, 2020.

As the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread around China and the world, many are questioning how much the country's colossal censorship apparatus played a role in withholding vital information about the epidemic until it was too late.

Government censorship: After the first cases emerged in December, Chinese authorities downplayed the severity of the virus, police went after "rumormongers," and censors deleted anything that questioned the official line.

But as the crisis has worsened, it has become clear that the failure to take quick action likely undermined any chance of containing the virus.

People are angry: Censorship has lessened somewhat in the face of intense public anger and scrutiny, allowing Chinese media to swarm Wuhan and blow holes in parts of the official line.

In a commentary published by the country's Supreme Court this week, a senior judge condemned Wuhan police for arresting "rumormongers" who, it has since emerged, were merely medical workers trying to warn people of the potential dangers of the new virus.

"If the public listened to this 'rumor' at the time, and adopted measures such as wearing masks, strict disinfection and avoiding going to the wildlife market (at the center of the outbreak), this might have helped prevent and control the virus' spread today," the Supreme Court commentary said.

Read more here about the public pushback -- and why it won't last.

9:56 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

What we know about the first American coronavirus patient

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

On his fifth day in the hospital, doctors saw signs of pneumonia in the coronavirus patient's lungs.
On his fifth day in the hospital, doctors saw signs of pneumonia in the coronavirus patient's lungs.

Doctors have shared new details about the first case of Wuhan coronavirus in the United States.

The first patient was a 35-year-old resident of Snohomish County, Washington, with no history of major health problems, said the scientific paper published Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Return from Wuhan: The patient visited family in Wuhan, and flew back on January 15. He had not visited the seafood market linked to the outbreak, or have any known contacts with sick people during his visit.

Symptoms: The man started with mild, nonspecific symptoms, and sought medical attention on January 19 after coughing for four days. The very next day, doctors confirmed he had the novel coronavirus.

Throughout his illness, he experienced a range of symptoms including fever, cough, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and runny nose. On day nine of his illness, his chest X-ray showed signs of pneumonia.

Road to recovery: As of January 30, he no longer had a fever, and his symptoms were gone except for his cough, which was "decreasing in severity," the doctors wrote. Officials are monitoring close contacts in the US but have not found evidence he transmitted the virus to anyone else.

9:27 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

First case of coronavirus confirmed in Spain

From CNN's Nicole Chavez

Police officers stand outside the Gomez Ulla Military Hospital in Madrid, on Friday, January 31, after the arrival of the Spanish nationals evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Police officers stand outside the Gomez Ulla Military Hospital in Madrid, on Friday, January 31, after the arrival of the Spanish nationals evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Oscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images

A person in La Gomera, one of Spain's Canary Islands chain, has been diagnosed with Wuhan coronavirus, the country's national health ministry announced Friday.

The patient was part of a group of five people who were in contact with a person infected with the novel virus while in Germany, the ministry said in a statement.

Twenty-one Spanish citizens who were evacuated from Wuhan on Friday were under quarantine at a hospital in Madrid. Health officials said they were not reporting symptoms of the virus.

9:10 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

Coronavirus cases in China jumped by 2,000 in one day

Zoya Rusinova/TASS/Getty Images
Zoya Rusinova/TASS/Getty Images

The number of novel coronavirus cases in mainland China jumped by 2,102 on Friday, said the country's National Health Commission on Saturday.

That makes the nationwide total 11,791 cases, including 259 deaths.

We've been seeing dramatic day-by-day jumps in numbers in recent weeks. From last Sunday to Monday, the number of cases confirmed in China had jumped by 65% -- and again by more than 30% from Monday to Tuesday.

What this means: It doesn't necessarily mean that the virus is spreading faster -- the timing of cases confirmed could be impacted by a delay between patients being infected, noticing symptoms, seeking medical care, and labs confirming results.

It's also dependent on the technology being used to test for coronavirus. Wuhan's Communist Party chief said this week that more efficient testing methods meant they could now confirm many more cases than before.

1:46 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

There could be many times more coronavirus cases in Wuhan than reported, researchers say

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

An estimated 75,815 people could be infected with the coronavirus in Wuhan, China -- far higher than reported numbers, said Hong Kong researchers in a study published Friday.

Using mathematical models, the authors estimated that the number of people affected in Wuhan ranges from 37,304 to 130,330.

The estimates could be much higher than the number of confirmed cases because "not everyone who is infected would require or seek medical attention," said Gabriel Leung, one of the authors of the study.

It could also be higher because of a delay between when someone gets infected, when they show symptoms, and when a lab is able to confirm results.

The study cautioned that "given the lack of a robust and detailed timeline of records of suspected, probable, and confirmed cases and close contacts, the true size of the epidemic and its pandemic potential remains unclear."

Correction: A previous version of this post contained a map that misattributed the source of provincial coronavirus case totals. The data comes from each province’s health authority, not China’s National Health Commission.