U.S. confirms 11 nCoV cases; 82 await test results

Feb. 4, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed in a press conference that the United States has tracked five new cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), including the second person-to-person transmission of the virus in a California couple. In addition, Johns Hopkins reports https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 over 20,500 cases in China and 427 deaths, more than the SARS outbreak.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) the two cases in San Benito County involve spouses, one of whom traveled to China and one who did not.

There are now 11 confirmed U.S. cases of the viral disease, which originated in Wuhan, China, said Nancy Messonnier, MD, the director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Nine of those 11 case-patients had recently traveled to Wuhan, while two were close household contacts.

Messonnier said 167 specimens have tested negative, and the CDC is awaiting the results of another 82 suspected cases. California has six confirmed cases, Arizona and Illinois both have two cases, and Washington state and Massachusetts each have a single confirmed case.

"The virus will continue to expand, given the explosive nature we've seen in China," said Messonnier. "We are preparing as if this were the next epidemic."

Messonnier said the CDC will observe the presidential proclamation issued on January 31 that bans all foreign nationals coming to the country from China for the next 14 days, except for immediate family members of U.S. citizens and naturalized citizens.

U.S. travelers returning from Hubei, China, will be routed to one of 11 airports: New York-JFK, Chicago O'Hare, San Francisco International, Seattle-Tacoma, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, Honolulu, Detroit, Dulles, Los Angeles International, Newark International, or Dallas–Ft. Worth. There they will be screened for symptoms of 2019-nCoV. If symptomatic, they will be housed near the airport and quarantined for 14 days.

Over the weekend, the Department of Defense and the Pentagon approved a plan to use military housing for up to 1,000 returning travelers for the federal quarantine, CNN reported.

"It is not possible that we will catch each case," Messonnier said. "The goal is to slow the spread of the virus within the US."

Messonnier also confirmed that the U.S. State Department will charter more planes to evacuate Americans in Wuhan. The 195 Americans who arrived from Wuhan last week are still under federal quarantine on March Air Reserve Base in Ontario, California, the first federal quarantine in over half a century.

The CDC also said they had submitted the diagnostic test currently being used at laboratories in CDC headquarters for and Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Once the Food and Drug Administration grants an EUA, the test will be sent to state public health labs, Messonnier said.

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