What You Need to Know About Coronavirus in the U.S.

As another U.S. case has been confirmed in Chicago, officials sound a higher level of concern in a rapidly evolving outbreak

Robert Roy Britt
Elemental
Published in
3 min readJan 24, 2020

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Coronaviruses, like this one, hijack a cell’s normal processes to trick the cell into reproducing the virus. Image: CDC

Please see our Coronavirus FAQ for the latest information on this outbreak.

A second person in the United States has been officially diagnosed with Wuhan coronavirus, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday.

Similar to the first case of a man in Washington state, this person had been in the city of Wuhan, China, and began experiencing symptoms a few days after returning to Chicago, on January 13. The patient is a woman in her sixties who is “doing well” and remains in the hospital to help prevent spreading the virus, the CDC said.

In a Friday teleconference with reporters, CDC officials continued to stress their belief that the virus represents a low threat to Americans, but the tone was more urgent.

“While this situation poses a very serious public health threat, CDC believes that the immediate risk to the public is low at this time,” said Nancy Messonnier, MD, and director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “But the situation continues to evolve rapidly.”

Messonnier expects cases of human-to-human transmission within this country will occur. “We expect to find more cases of novel coronavirus in the United States associated with the ongoing outbreak,” she said. Of the virus itself, she added: “There is much we don’t know yet.”

TThe coronavirus, first identified in December 2019, originated in the city of Wuhan, China. The first human cases were thought to stem from a wholesale market that sold seafood, poultry, farm animals, snakes, and bats. The disease continues to spread widely in China, having infected at least 830 people, up from 300 early in the week, according to news reports. The death toll in China rose to 26, up from three at the start of the week.

Cases have been reported in Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore. Chinese authorities locked down travel to and from several cities near the center of the outbreak, affecting some 35 million residents.

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Robert Roy Britt
Elemental

Editor of Aha! and Wise & Well on Medium + the Writer's Guide at writersguide.substack.com. Author of Make Sleep Your Superpower: amazon.com/dp/B0BJBYFQCB