Monday, January 27, 2020

Latest Information on the Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak

By Timothy Gamble 

The following information is updated as of 11:45 pm on January 31.

>>> China has reversed its earlier decision, and will now allow US experts into China to assist with the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak. This is seen as a sign of sheer desperation on the part of Chinese officials, as it represents a major loss of face for the CCP. This action also suggests that the situation inside China is actually much worse than previously thought. 

>>> The CDC has decided to expand the screening of travelers from the 5 airports already being screened to 20 airports in the US.

>>> On Jan. 30, the CDC reported the first person-to-person transmission of the Wuhan Coronavirus in the United States. A person in Chicago who had close contact with the first Illinois patient has now tested positive, bringing the number of cases in the US to 6. This is the first person to contract the disease on US soil, as the previous 5 patients had all contracted the virus while visiting China.

Worldwide Death Toll: 259 (all in China)
Confirmed Cases in US: 7
States with Confirmed Cases: Washington (1), Illinois (2), Arizona (1), California (3)
Countries with Confirmed Cases: China, United States, Canada
Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, France, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Italy, Finland, United Arab Emirates, India, Russia, Sweden, Spain, the UK, and the Philippines. 

>>> WHO declared the Wuhan Coronavirus a worldwide health emergency on January 30.


>>> The number of Wuhan Coronavirus cases now tops the number of SARS cases from 2002/2003. However, SARS had 774 deaths, compared to 213 deaths (so far) from Wuhan Coronavirus. The mortality rate for Wuhan Coronavirus is estimated between 2% and 3%, however WHO stresses that this is a very preliminary rough estimate.

>>> About 200 of the US citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China have arrived back in the US on Jan. 29. They are now being monitored at March Air Reserve Base in California. The CDC says they will keep them at the base for three days for testing, and then will allow them to return to their home states, where they will be monitored by local health officials for the full 14-day incubation period. One US citizen was not allowed to board the flight because he was running a fever

>>> The US State Department issued an official warning against travel to China on Monday, Jan. 17. The State Department has also ordered the evacuation of all non-emergency US personnel in China.

What is the Wuhan Coronavirus?

The Wuhan Coronavirus, officially designated as 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization (WHO), first appeared in Wuhan, China, in December of 2019, first emerging among workers and customers of the Huanan Seafood Market.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause respiratory infections in humans. The Wuhan Coronavirus has been compared to SARS, a different Coronavirus that first emerged in Asia in 2003. Both viruses enter human cells in a similar way, using angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a receptor.

Reported symptoms of the Wuhan Coronavirus include:
  •       Fever (90%+ of cases)
  •       Fatigue combined with a dry cough (80%) 
  •       Shortness of breath, other respiratory problems (20%) 
Additional possible symptoms are a sore throat, runny nose, headache, and other flu-like symptoms.

Coronaviruses, including the Wuhan Coronavirus, are NOT related to flu viruses, and flu vaccines do not offer any protection against Coronaviruses. There are no vaccines or antiviral drugs currently approved for the prevention or treatment of Coronaviruses. 

How to protect yourself from the Wunan Coronavirus:

Coronaviruses, including the Wunan Coronavirus, can be spread person-to-person, or through contaminated food or surfaces. This makes avoiding contact with infected or potentially infected people, along with strong hygeine and sanitation practices, extremely important in stopping the spread of the disease.

The CDC and WHO give the following general advice for protecting against Coronaviruses:
  • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid contact with thse who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces (click link for disinfectants page on Amazon). 
  • If you are sick, avoid contact with others.
  • Stay home when sick and for two days after symptoms stop.
  •  Do not prepare food for others if you have a
    Coronavirus, or if you may have come into contact with someone with a Coronavirus.
Wearing medical facemasks in public can help prevent catching or spreading Coronaviruses, but simply avoiding infected people and thoroughly washing your hands often are the most effective measures to take.  

Availability of Medical Facemasks:

In the United States, there have been news reports of medical facemasks selling out fast at retailers and on Amazon. My local Wal-mart was sold out last week, but has since restocked. Some facemasks have been restocked and once again available on Amazon. Expect availability to be sporadic as increased news coverage causes increased demand. 
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