Since mid-January, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been employing temperature checks at selected airports, at first on people flying in from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and now on all passengers who've been anywhere in mainland China in the past 14 days.
While the CDC has screened more than 30,000 passengers in the past month, not a single US coronavirus case has been caught by airport temperature checks, according to a CNN investigation.
CNN reviewed statements by local, state and federal health officials, and emailed and spoke with officials, to determine how many people eventually diagnosed with the novel coronavirus went through airport temperature checks.
By the numbers: Ten passengers flew into US airports on commercial airliners and were later diagnosed with coronavirus.
Four of those 10 passengers went through temperature checks and were found not to have a fever or any other symptoms of the virus. Two of those passengers flew into Los Angeles International Airport and two flew into San Francisco International Airport. Previously, a CDC spokesperson had told CNN that two of the passengers were symptomatic during flight, but the spokesperson later said they were asymptomatic while flying.
Another four out of the 10 passengers were not screened because they flew into airports that did not have screening at the time. Those cases are in Illinois, Washington state, Massachusetts and California.
It's unclear whether the final two passengers went through temperature checks because health officials at the CDC and in Wisconsin and Arizona refused to say when asked by CNN.
How the screening works: The temperature checks are part of an overall screening effort that includes giving passengers cards telling them to watch out for fever, cough and trouble breathing, all symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease, also called COVID-19.
While airport temperature checks haven't caught any coronavirus cases, the information cards have helped catch US cases of the virus at least twice – once in a passenger who flew into San Francisco, and once in a passenger who flew into Los Angeles.
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