Coronavirus absolutely has potential for pandemic status – WHO

Iran and Italy have reported a surge in coronavirus cases over the last several days and raced to cancel public events. The outbreak, which originated in China, has not yet met the criteria for a pandemic, although it “absolutely” has the potential to get there. “Using the term pandemic now, it doesn’t fit the facts, but it may cause fear,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press conference.

An investigative team that had arrived in China several weeks ago has reported a range of findings on the virus, including that it peaked and then plateaued between Jan. 27 and Feb. 2, and has continued “declining steadily since then,” Tedros said. He added that the team found no significant change in the DNA of the virus and that the fatality rate outside of Wuhan, the virus epicenter, has remained at 0.7 percent.

CDC has confirmed 53 cases of novel coronavirus in the US
Officials board the Kalitta Air flight carrying American evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on February 17 in San Antonio, Texas.

Officials board the Kalitta Air flight carrying American evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on February 17 in San Antonio, Texas.  Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images

There are now 53 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

These include 36 people who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, three people repatriated from China and 14 US cases.

This reflects an increase in 18 cases from Friday, all among Diamond Princess passengers. At the time, CDC officials said that there were additional passengers who had tested positive for the virus in Japan and would likely be added to the official US count once those test results had been adjudicated.

The 14 US cases include eight in California, one in Massachusetts, one in Washington state, one in Arizona, two in Illinois and one in Wisconsin. Among these cases, there are two instances of person-to-person transmission, one in Illinois and one in California.

In the meantime, in Anniston, Alabama, Mayor Jack Draper said based on a series of meetings with the Department of Health and Human Services, they are not prepared to handle coronavirus patients.

“We’re simply not prepared to help our fellow citizens, at this time, who have been diagnosed with this disease,” Draper said.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday it was evaluating the possibility of using a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston as a backup location for some Americans infected by the virus, according to statements from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the governor’s office.

During a news conference Monday, Draper said it became apparent after several meetings with HHS that there was no real plan and no idea what would be expected of the local community, first responders and local healthcare.

The Yucatan Times
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