It can be hard to keep up with the coronavirus 2019-nCoV outbreak. Not only because new information is coming in at breakneck speed, but also because of the sheer volume of misinformation going around. The term “infodemic” has been used to describe the massive amount of coronavirus information out there—whether accurate or not.
But certain organizations, like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), have been working on overdrive to track the outbreak’s progress and communicate what they know.
Here are some of the latest updates from late last week and over the weekend, in case you missed them.
The numbers as of Sunday, February 2
Globally: There are 14,557 confirmed cases (2,604 new cases in the last 24 hours)
In China: There are 14,411 confirmed (2,590 new), 2,110 severe (315 new), 304 deaths (45 new)
Outside of China: 146 confirmed (14 new) in 23 countries, 1 death (For a detailed breakdown of cases per country, please see the list at the bottom of this article.)
Quarantine of 195 U.S. citizens flying to the U.S. from Wuhan, China
On Friday, January 31, the CDC issued federal quarantine orders to 195 U.S. citizens who flew in from Wuhan. They are calling the 14-day quarantine “precautionary and preventive” noting that it is “part of a public health response that is necessary to prevent the transmission and spread of this virus in the United States.”
The people are being housed at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, CA, with medical staff that monitor the health of each traveler, including, they noted, “temperature checks and observation for respiratory symptoms.”
WHO declares coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency
On Thursday, January 30, the WHO declared the outbreak a global health emergency, or a public health emergencies of international concern (PHEIC).
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, who was elected the WHO director-general in 2017, offered the following perspective on the PHIEC announcement.
First, he offered praise for China’s handling of the outbreak to date, noting that “the Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak, despite the severe social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people” and that “China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response.”
Ghebreyesus added that “our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it” and made seven recommendations going forward: 1) There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. WHO doesn’t recommend limiting trade and movement. 2) We must support countries with weaker health systems. 3) Accelerate the development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. 4) Combat the spread of rumors and misinformation. 5) Review preparedness plans, identify gaps, and evaluate the resources needed to identify, isolate, and care for cases, and prevent transmission. 6) Share data, knowledge, and experience with WHO and the world. 7) The only way we will defeat this outbreak is for all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation. We are all in this together, and we can only stop it together.
He closed his statement by noting that, “This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumors. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma.”
The first death outside of China
The first death has been reported outside of China, in the Philippines. The patient is reported to have been a Chinese man who traveled into the Philippines from Wuhan.
Other items we’ll be watching:
- Living in NYC, it’s hard not to watch the first three potential cases in NYC closely. It should be stressed that these cases are under investigation—not confirmed.
- Bloomberg reported that the coronavirus may be transmitted along the fecal-oral route, a report originally reported by Xinhua.
- For now, the CDC and WHO are using the term “outbreak” to describe the situation. However, as the situation changes, it may turn into an “epidemic” which would indicate an outbreak that has an expanded geographical area.
Countries with confirmed cases
China: 14,411 confirmed cases
Japan: 20 confirmed cases
Thailand: 19 confirmed cases
Singapore: 18 confirmed cases
Republic of Korea: 15 confirmed cases
Australia: 12 confirmed cases
Germany: 10 confirmed cases
Malaysia: 8 confirmed cases
United States of America: 8 confirmed cases
Vietnam: 7 confirmed cases
France: 6 confirmed cases
United Arab Emirates: 5 confirmed cases
Canada: 4 confirmed cases
India: 2 confirmed cases
Italy: 2 confirmed cases
Russian Federation: 2 confirmed cases
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: 2 confirmed cases
Philippines: 2 confirmed cases
Nepal: 1 confirmed cases
Sri Lanka: 1 confirmed cases
Spain: 1 confirmed cases
Sweden: 1 confirmed cases