Fifth US case of coronavirus confirmed as China warns people can spread the virus before they feel ill

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Another case of coronavirus has been confirmed, in Arizona, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday, bringing the total to five cases i...

Posted: Jan 26, 2020 10:51 AM
Updated: Jan 28, 2020 4:15 AM

Another case of coronavirus has been confirmed, in Arizona, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday, bringing the total to five cases in the United States.

The increase came as a top Chinese health official delivered some worrisome news about efforts to contain the fast-moving virus.

Several people have been infected with the Wuhan coronavirus in the US -- including a man in his 30s in Washington state; a Chicago woman in her 60s; a man in his 50s in Orange County, California, a patient in Los Angeles County; and a fifth in Arizona. All had recently traveled to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Worried? Here's how to protect yourself

'As with other respiratory illnesses, there are steps that everyone can take to reduce the risk of getting sick from circulating viruses, including coronavirus. This includes remaining home when ill, washing hands with soap and water frequently, and getting vaccinated against flu,' said Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

The Orange County victim is in isolation and in 'good condition' at a local hospital, the county's Health Care Agency said in a statement. The Los Angeles County patient was being treated at a hospital as well, officials said.

State and federal officials are following up with anyone who may have had close contact with the person and is at risk of infection.

Chinese Health Minister delivers a 'game changer'

News of the latest American case comes as Chinese Health Minister Ma Xiaowei delivered the revelation that people can spread the virus before they have symptoms -- which a veteran US health adviser called a 'game changer' -- but not in a good way.

It calls into question current US practices to contain the virus, longtime CDC adviser Dr. William Schaffner said.

'When I heard this, I thought, 'Oh dear, this is worse than we anticipated.' It means the infection is much more contagious than we originally thought,' said Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

If Ma is correct -- and information about the virus is constantly evolving -- people can go two weeks without realizing they're sick, during which time they can spread the virus.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, questioned Ma's statement.

'We at CDC don't have clear evidence that patients are infectious before symptom onset,' Messonnier said, 'but we are actively investigating that possibility.'

The risk for the American public contracting the virus continues to be low, Messonnier said. 'We need to be preparing as if this is a pandemic,' she said, 'but I continue to hope that it is not.'

At least 56 dead in China

In addition to Arizona and California, cases have been reported in Illinois and Washington state. The Illinois woman had not been sick while traveling from Wuhan to the US on January 13, said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The CDC said it's taking aggressive measures to stop the spread of the virus in the United States, but while it considers it a serious public health threat, the immediate risk to Americans is low.

The stateside cases prompted Sen. Chuck Schumer to urge the US Department of Health and Human Services to declare an emergency to free up $85 million for the CDC.

The money is already appropriated and sitting in the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund, he said, and the CDC will have full discretion to use the money for epidemiological endeavors, screening, public awareness, staffing and educating local and state officials.

'We want to make sure (the CDC) can sustain this pace and have all the dollars they need should the outbreak get worse,' the senator said. 'Use the key now and unlock the money.'

At least 56 people have been killed by the coronavirus in China, and nearly 2,000 confirmed cases have been reported as the nation struggles to contain the outbreak.

Authorities have imposed indefinite restrictions on public transport and travel, with motor vehicles banned in Wuhan's city center starting Sunday to control the flow of people. Only vehicles with special permits, free shuttles and government vehicles will be allowed to move around.

Amid the lockdown, countries like the US and France have been trying to evacuate their citizens from the central Chinese city. Outside of China, more than 40 confirmed cases have been identified in about a dozen countries.

Coronaviruses are transmitted by animals and people, and the Wuhan strain has been linked to a market in the city that was selling seafood and live animals, including wild species. The Chinese government announced that it's banning all sales of wild animals

Beijing will deploy an additional 1,600 medical professionals to Wuhan to help the city cope with the growing number of coronavirus patients, health officials said.

Correction: This story has been updated to correctly attribute a quote to Dr. Allison Arwady.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 4474

Reported Deaths: 159
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah122462
Marion101126
Washington75518
Clackamas33312
Deschutes1330
Umatilla1243
Linn1219
Polk10012
Lane803
Yamhill757
Jackson690
Benton575
Jefferson460
Clatsop450
Klamath440
Malheur320
Coos320
Wasco291
Douglas280
Hood River280
Lincoln230
Josephine231
Columbia160
Morrow120
Curry70
Crook70
Union60
Tillamook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 122168

Reported Deaths: 4444
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles596922532
Riverside8303345
San Diego7798283
Orange6783165
San Bernardino5650209
Alameda364197
Santa Clara2850144
San Francisco264443
Imperial249330
Kern246245
San Mateo224484
Tulare208392
Fresno194437
Santa Barbara171414
Contra Costa154738
Sacramento149058
Ventura119035
Kings11876
San Joaquin102436
Stanislaus79230
Monterey62110
Sonoma5934
Solano55922
Marin52517
Merced3107
San Luis Obispo2881
Placer2599
Santa Cruz2192
Yolo21624
Madera1293
Napa1263
Humboldt1044
El Dorado980
San Benito962
Butte601
Nevada491
Sutter482
Del Norte470
Shasta404
Mono371
Mendocino330
Yuba311
Lake300
Inyo201
Glenn170
Calaveras160
Mariposa161
Amador100
Siskiyou90
Colusa70
Tehama61
Tuolumne50
Lassen50
Plumas40
Alpine20
Sierra10
Trinity10
Unassigned00
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