January 26 coronavirus news
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The confirmed coronavirus patient in Orange County, California, is in isolation at an area hospital in good condition, Dr. Nichole Quick, health officer for the Orange County Health Care Agency, told CNN on Sunday. The patient, a man in his 50s, recently returned from Wuhan through Los Angeles International Airport, though Quick would not confirm whether he returned before or after airport screenings began on January 17.
According to Quick, the county was first alerted to the case on Thursday, January 23. The patient was exhibiting symptoms of upper and lower respiratory tract infections. His test specimens were collected with the help of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which confirmed the results as positive for coronavirus on Saturday. Upon learning of the positive results, the Orange County Health Care Agency worked with local providers to transport and admit the man to a local hospital.
The man is one of two confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus in California – the other being in Los Angeles County. The CDC on Sunday updated the national number of cases to five on Sunday afternoon.
Five cases of Wuhan coronavirus have been confirmed in the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday.
One new case was confirmed in Arizona and two cases were confirmed in California. Cases had previously been confirmed in Illinois and Washington state. All the cases were in people who had recently traveled to Wuhan, China.
Chinese authorities announced they would extend the week-long Lunar New Year holiday which was supposed to run through January 30, to now run until February 2, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported Sunday.
The decision came after a government committee on the prevention and control of the virus held a meeting to address the outbreak.
Earlier in the week, Hong Kong announced it will extend the Lunar New Year holiday for schools until February 17 to prevent transmission of the virus. Several universities also suspended classes until that date.
There are now eight confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus in Hong Kong, according to a government press release.
The health department said it was continuing its epidemiological investigations and relevant contact tracing of the eight confirmed cases.
This brings the total number of cases outside mainland China to 50, in an outbreak that has infected over 2,000 people worldwide and killed 56 in China.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the county, according to a statement from the department. It is the fourth confirmed case in the United States.
Public Health officials in the county said there is no immediate threat to the public and no special precautions are required, but urged residents in Los Angeles to "practice good public health hygiene."
"Health is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal, state and local agencies to monitor this novel coronavirus that has emerged from Wuhan, China, over the past few weeks. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available," the department said in a statement.
The three other confirmed cases in the US were found in:
- Orange County, California
- Washington state
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced in a series of Tweets on Sunday that he is headed to China to assist with response efforts to the coronavirus.
“We are working 24/7 to support [China] & its people during this difficult time & remain in close contact with affected countries, with our regional & country offices deeply involved. @WHO is updating all countries on the situation & providing specific guidance on what to do to respond,” Ghebreyesus said in a separate tweet.
“Building on experience and systems already in place for related pathogens, @WHO has activated global networks of experts, quickly developed advice for countries everywhere, and is working with them to activate their response systems. #coronavirus”
The United States’ top infectious disease doctor wants a team of disease detectives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to go to China and check on crucial questions about how the Wuhan coronavirus is spreading.
But there’s one problem: China first has to invite the CDC.
“Up to now, to my knowledge, we have not been invited,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the US National Institutes of Health.
A CDC spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on Sunday. NIH and CDC are separate divisions of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
On Sunday, Ma Xiaowei, China’s health minister, told reporters that the virus could spread before someone develops symptoms. If so, that means the virus will spread much more quickly than expected.
Ma did not explain how Chinese authorities arrived at this conclusion.
“The implications for this are so important that in my mind it’s absolutely critical that we ourselves see the data, because what goes on over there has implications for what happens here,” Fauci said.
Fauci said that CDC disease detectives would need to see precisely how Chinese health authorities have gathered their data.
“To my knowledge, we have not seen the precise minute, granular data and how they collected it,” he said. “We need to get to the real bottom line of how they collected their data and see if it’s valid.”
“The Chinese have good people. I don’t want to impugn their capabilities,” Fauci added. “But when it’s something as important as this, our people who are trained epidemiologists need to go over their data and the best way to do that is go there and see how they’re collecting it.”
He added that to his knowledge, the Chinese did not tell US health authorities that the virus could spread before someone is symptomatic, a crucial aspect of any disease investigation. He said he learned about it after reading a CNN reporter’s email.
The International Tennis Federation announced on Sunday that February’s regional Fed Cup qualifying event will be moved from Dongguan, China, to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
"The decision to move the event to a different venue was taken due to increasing travel restrictions in China, P.R. at the present time and followed consultation with independent security advisors,” the ITF said in a statement.
The event will take place February 4 - 8. The top two teams advance to the Fed Cup playoffs in April.