Coronavirus Outbreak: COVID-19 Reaches Texas, “May Be” More Cases Pending

China's Hubei province announced 242 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, which is known officially as Covid-19, today — twice as many as on the previous day.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a case of novel coronavirus at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

And “there may be additional cases” identified during the quarantine period, CDC spokeswoman Captain Jennifer McQuiston said at a news conference today.

The patient was a “solo traveler” from China. The individual has been quarantined “since arriving at Lackland Air Force Base from the Wuhan Province in China and remains in isolation at a local hospital, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) case in Texas, USA
FILE – This Feb. 2, 2020, file photo provided by the Department of Defense shows empty lodging facilities at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Department of Defense says it is providing temporary lodging support for up to 1,000 passengers being evacuated from China to the U.S. in response to the coronavirus outbreak there. The virus outbreak that began in China and has spread to more than 20 countries is stretching already-strained public health systems in Asia and beyond, raising questions over whether everyone can get equal access to treatment. (Todd Holly/U.S. Air Force via AP, File)

Officials are now investigating the patient’s movements while quarantined and who he or she might have interacted with, McQuiston said. 

“We are right in the middle of that incubation period so it is not surprising” that the individual developed symptoms, McQuiston said. 

“For the most part the people in quarantine are not doing much associating with each other,” McQuiston said. 

There is low risk to the local community, officials said. 

No information about the patient or the hospital will be made available at this time, Nirenberg said.

Europe Union could consider border closings if coronavirus escalates

A Croatian health official said closing borders across the European Union is an option if the coronavirus outbreak escalates — but global officials say that step is not necessary yet.

Vili Beroš, the Croatian Minister of Health, spoke at a news conference following a meeting of EU health ministers.

“The situation needs to be monitored on an hourly basis. Of course, if epidemiologically it escalates, we shall take other actions, if that means the closing of borders, we shall discuss it in line with national legislation,” Beroš said.

Coronavirus
Coronavirus

Remember: The World Health Organization has not said that kind of restriction is needed right now.

Here’s how StellaKyriakidou, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, put it:

“The WHO has been very clear that there is no need at the moment for restrictions on travel and trade from affected countries. And I trust that Member States would adhere to this. Of course, such decisions will always be Member State competence and Member State decisions.”

There’s a big jump in coronavirus cases in China today — here’s why

Coronavirus
Coronavirus

Yesterday, China reported far fewer cases of the novel coronavirus than it did the day before, signaling that the spread of the virus could be slowing.

But the numbers are back up today: China has announced a major jump in both new deaths and new cases. 

There are many reasons we’re seeing this phenomenon, including variances in the incubation period and more people seeking treatment.

But one of the top reasons for the variation in numbers is the constantly changing definitions of what constitutes a case in China: Is it just when someone has a lab-confirmed test? Is it when they exhibit symptoms indicative of infection? Should someone who is asymptotic be counted?

Today’s spike is partly due to a broader definition of what constitutes a confirmed case, to include people diagnosed on the basis of their symptoms rather than testing positive.

Keep in mind: This is normal. 

“It’s normal during the course of an outbreak to adapt the case definition,” Dr. Sylvie Briand, director of the World Health Organization’s Infectious Hazards Management Department, said during a news conference yesterday.

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