On January 21, 2020, the CDC confirmed the first case of Coronavirus had reached the United States.
The Coronavirus is a new illness that was first detected in China in 2019, and health experts have been warning about its ability to spread from person-to-person, which also means it could be spread to other countries.
To prevent the spread of the disease, the CDC announced earlier this month that airports in the United States would begin screening for the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will implement enhanced health screenings to detect ill travelers traveling to the United States on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China. This activity is in response to an outbreak in China caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019 nCoV), with exported cases to Thailand and Japan.
Despite these screening efforts, it was reported that a person in Washington state was confirmed to have the virus on January 21st. The patient went to a Washington based health clinic, where they were showing symptoms and had a travel history consistent with the virus.
Following the first case of the Coronavirus in the United States, more airports around the country are said to be implementing screening techniques, including airports in both Atlanta and Chicago.
The CDC says that clinicians around the country were alerted in early January, and they were educated as to what symptoms to look for in their patients.
Unfortunately, the symptoms are similar to the signs of influenza, which is currently hitting the U.S. particularly hard. The CDC has told medical professionals to be on the lookout for ” fever, cough and trouble breathing.”
Here is how the CDC describes the Coronavirus:
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people, such as has been seen with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). When person-to-person spread has occurred with SARS and MERS, it is thought to happen via respiratory droplets with close contacts, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.
The CDC also says that little is currently known about this particular virus or how easily it can spread from person-to-person.
It was originally thought that the virus originated in a fish market in Wuhan, China. Initially, professionals believed that the virus could only be transmitted from animals, but they are now saying they have witnessed transmittal between humans, causing further alarm.
According to CNN, over 300 people have been infected with the virus in China, six of which have died. However, experts are afraid those numbers will continue to rise, especially since the virus has now been found in multiple other countries.
Due to the severity and threat of this virus, the World Health Organization announced on their Twitter account Tuesday that they will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday, January 22nd, to discuss the Coronavirus and the threat it poses to the public.
We will provide updates to this story as they become available.