February 7 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Jenni Marsh, Adam Renton and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 0136 GMT (0936 HKT) February 8, 2020
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8:18 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak has moved here.

6:21 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Evacuees from Wuhan arrive safely in Texas

From CNN’s Jen Christensen 

None of the evacuees from China who arrived at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base are sick, according to an official with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The passengers were men, women and children and had either been living in, or traveled to, Hubei province. They were escorted off the plane, at which time medical professionals took their temperatures. Some of the passengers were then loaded back onto the plane and will continue on to Omaha, Nebraska. Fewer than 100 of the passengers will be kept at the air force base.

All the evacuees will be under federal quarantined for 14 days from the time the plane left China.

“It may seem surprising to some that we are taking such aggressive measures,” CDC's Capt. Jennifer McQuiston said at a news conference Friday.

McQuiston added that the goal of the CDC is to protect the health of US citizens.

6:25 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Norwegian Cruise Lines bans anyone holding Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passports

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch and Jon Passantino

Norwegian Cruise Lines is prohibiting passengers or staff that have Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passports on board any of the ships over concerns of spreading the coronavirus, the company said in a statement.

"Any guest who exhibits symptoms of any respiratory illness while on board will be subject to additional screening at our onboard Medical Center and may be subject to potential quarantine and disembarkation," the company said.

The new policy also said that guests who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 30 days of their voyage will also not be allowed to board any of its ships.

Yesterday, Royal Caribbean imposed the same bans and restrictions on its cruise ships.

More from Norwegian Cruise Lines: The standard incubation period for coronavirus according to the World Health Organization and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is 14 days, Norwegian said.

Guests who are denied boarding will be issued a refund when they provide proof of travel, the company said.

3:58 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Scientist says coronavirus vaccine may be ready by 2021

From CNN's Bianca Nobilo

A scientist working on developing a coronavirus vaccine says that the treatment would, at the earliest, be available in early 2021.

Robin Shattock, the head of mucosal infection and immunity at Imperial College London, told The Brief’s Bianca Nobilo that his team was sharing information with teams of scientists across the world in the race to develop a workable vaccine.

“What’s important is that as a global community we maximize our effort to get a vaccine available in the shortest possible time,” Shattock said.

“The earliest a vaccine could possibly [be] available for global use would be early next year. That sounds slow – it’s still faster than it’s been done before.”

Shattock also told CNN that “basic hygiene methods [were] the most effective ways to reduce transmission” of coronavirus.

He added that wearing masks only provided limited protection from the infection.

“The evidence that masks are protective is very slim,” he said.

“We don’t have strong evidence that they do much in terms of protection…they might reduce transmission just because it prevents you touching your face more often.”

Shattock said use of masks by members of the public could cause stock shortages in hospitals."

"Mass use of masks may well be more of a problem than a solution,” he said.


2:58 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Passengers in New Jersey tested for coronavirus did not show symptoms, cruise line says

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Royal Caribbean said in a statement that "none of the four guests being tested by CDC" who were aboard the ship that docked in New Jersey "showed any clinical signs or symptoms of coronavirus."

The companies statement said one passenger "had tested positive onboard for Influenza A."

The company said their records indicate "the guests had not been in China since January 26 - 14 days ago."

Royal Caribbean says it will now have stricter protocols which will include "mandatory specialized health screenings performed" on guests who report "feeling unwell" or with "flu-like symptoms," anyone who traveled through mainland "China or Hong Kong in the past 15 days," or had contact with someone who did.

Test results from the CDC are expected as early as Saturday, the company said.

3:01 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

What it's like to be on the quarantined ship docked off the coast of Japan

Masked passengers are seen on the deck of the cruise ship Diamond Princess docked at Yokohama Port, near Tokyo, Friday, February 7.
Masked passengers are seen on the deck of the cruise ship Diamond Princess docked at Yokohama Port, near Tokyo, Friday, February 7. Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News via AP

At least 61 passengers — including 11 Americans — aboard a cruise ship in Japan have been infected with the coronavirus. The number of cases on the ship tripled overnight from 20 to 61, CNN's Will Ripley reports.

Ripley reports that passengers aboard the ship have to stay inside 23 hours a day. They are allowed outside for less than an hour under close supervision, and they have to stand 3 feet away from each other and wear masks.

One of the Americans who tested positive for coronavirus spoke to Ripley. Rebecca Frasure, from Oregon, told him, "I could never have imagined that this would be happening right now. Like not in a million years." 

"I don't know what's going to happen an hour from now, tomorrow, like for all we know we could stay quarantined on this ship for a month. We just — the not knowing is the hardest."

What we know about this ship: The Diamond Princess is anchored off the coast of Yokohama, near Tokyo, with 1,045 crew and 2,666 passengers — including 428 Americans — on board. The vessel has been quarantined since Tuesday, and passengers are expected to remain under quarantine for at least 14 days — so roughly 11 more days.

This ship is one of three cruise ships in Asia have had their travels disrupted during the coronavirus outbreak. Another ship is docked in Hong Kong and under quarantine as officials try to slow the spreading of the virus. A third ship in the East China Sea has been unable to dock because of outbreak fears.


3:01 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Study details how coronavirus can spread in hospitals

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard and Michael Nedelman

A medical worker wearing protective gear waits to take the temperature of people entering Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong on February 4
A medical worker wearing protective gear waits to take the temperature of people entering Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong on February 4 Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

A new study turns a spotlight on the possible risk of hospital-related transmissions of the Wuhan coronavirus.

The study, published in the medical journal JAMA today, involved analyzing data on 138 patients hospitalized with novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China. The data showed that hospital-related transmissions of the virus were suspected in about 41% of the patients.

Specifically, 40 health care workers in the study and 17 patients who were already hospitalized for other reasons were presumed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus in the hospital, the data showed, also revealing that 26% of all the patients were admitted to an intensive care unit and 4.3% died. 

The researchers noted that the new study, to their knowledge, might be the largest case series to date of hospitalized patients with novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia — but the study had some limitations.

Hospital-related transmissions of infections "could not be definitively proven but was suspected and presumed based on timing and patterns of exposure to infected patients and subsequent development of infection,” the researchers wrote in the study. 

Among the 138 cases, "most patients are still hospitalized at the time of manuscript submission. Therefore, it is difficult to assess risk factors for poor outcome, and continued observations of the natural history of the disease are needed,” they wrote. 

1:32 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Here's a look at who the CDC has investigated for coronavirus

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

About one in six people under investigation for Wuhan coronavirus in the United States have had “close contact” with someone confirmed to have been infected, according to a report released today by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 11% had contact with another person under investigation had not yet been confirmed to have the virus. The majority, about 70%, had only travel-related risk. Of them, most had traveled to Wuhan, versus other parts of China.

The numbers come from 210 people who were under investigation from Jan. 21 to Jan. 31, when CDC updated its guidelines. All of the people were symptomatic — typically with fever and respiratory symptoms — and thus tested for the virus.

Here are some more numbers from the report:

  • Only six people were identified through airport screenings, and 85% were identified in health care settings such as hospital emergency departments. Another 26, or 12%, came from contact tracing.
  • The median age was 29, and 55% were men. People under investigation have included 17 health care workers and at least 48 college students.
  • Most people under investigation have been found to not have the virus. During the period of the new report, only 11 had tested positive.

The CDC says these numbers are likely to change. "Because person-to-person transmission is expected to continue, and as further travel restrictions are implemented, it is likely that the proportion of [people under investigation] with such contact risk in the United States will increase,” the report says.

On Friday, the CDC posted its latest total of people under investigation since January 21: A total of 337 people in 36 states.

This includes 12 who have tested positive, 225 negative and 100 are still pending. 

1:02 p.m. ET, February 7, 2020

Hong Kong confirms 26 cases of coronavirus

From CNN's Bex Wright in Hong Kong

A 58-year-old man and a 42-year-old man are the latest people to contract coronavirus in Hong Kong, bringing the total to 26 confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. local Friday, according to the Department of Health.

The 58-year-old is in serious condition. According to the patient's information, he was traveling back and forth for work from Macao to his home in Zhuhai during the incubation period and then resided with a friend in Hong Kong. As a precaution, quarantine is being arranged for the friend who is asymptomatic.

The 42-year-old is in stable condition. He had flown to Hebei Province and visited Macao before returning to Hong Kong. A domestic worker who resided with him presented symptoms and will be sent to Prince of Wales Hospital and a quarantine is being arranged for his friend who lived with him but is asymptomatic.