CDC confirms second US case of coronavirus in Chicago woman
The second case of a novel coronavirus at the center of an ongoing outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, has been identified in the United States.
According to CDC officials, a female U.S. citizen in her 60s from Chicago is infected with the coronavirus. The woman returned from a trip to Wuhan before the start of precautionary health screenings at U.S. airports, including Chicago’s O’Hare. She was asymptomatic at the time.
Officials reported that the woman was aware of the risk associated with recent travel to Wuhan and reported her symptoms once they began. She was quickly masked to prevent any further spread and transported to a nearby hospital with infection control capabilities, where she has been isolated.
CDC and local health officials are screening the woman’s contacts, which are said to be limited. She had not used any public transport since returning home, and did not attend any events or activities with large numbers of people.
Officials are not reporting any additional information on the woman’s activities in Wuhan, including whether she had visited the animal market where the outbreak is believed to have originated.
CDC officials noted that there are 63 people under investigation in 22 U.S. states. So far, 11 have tested negative for the coronavirus, and two tested positive — the woman in Chicago and a previously reported man from Washington State; the rest remain unknown.
According to health officials in China, there have been 830 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 25 deaths. Many precautions have been put in place to prevent further transmission, including the halting of all local and long-distance public transport in Wuhan and airport screenings in Britain and the U.S. According to the CDC, more than 2,000 people on 200 flights have been screened at five U.S. airports, though no cases have been identified through those efforts.
WHO officials convened Wednesday and Thursday to assess the outbreak and recommended against declaring the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, noting that the outbreak is an emergency in China, but not yet globally. No additional trade or travel restrictions have been put in place at this time, but WHO officials said they will reconvene the emergency committee to reassess as the outbreak progresses. – by Caitlyn Stulpin