by Sharon Rondeau

(Feb. 2, 2020) — On Sunday morning, a second case of the rapidly-spreading coronavirus was confirmed by Santa Clara County, CA public health officials.

The disease’s official name is “novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV),” with more than 14,000 people now ill, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday.  That number includes approximately 2,000 more reported infected between Saturday and Sunday.

The virus, which originated in the city of Wuhan, China in December, has led to the deaths of 304 people throughout that country and one in the Philippines as of Sunday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms of the illness include cough, fever and shortness of breath which can lead to pneumonia.  The virus is transmitted similarly to other strains of coronaviruses and influenzas, the CDC reported, and is believed to have originated with bats.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency.” “The emergency declaration gives state, tribal, and local health departments more flexibility to request that HHS authorize them to temporarily reassign state, local, and tribal personnel to respond to 2019-nCoV if their salaries normally are funded in whole or in part by Public Health Service Act programs. These personnel could assist with public health information campaigns and other response activities,” HHS reported on its website.

As of Saturday evening, eight cases were identified in the U.S. in the states of California, Massachusetts, Washington, Arizona, and Illinois.

As of Sunday, WHO reported four cases in Canada.

A number of countries have enacted travel bans on anyone traveling from China.  The U.S. is quarantining all travelers returning from China, and two U.S. airlines have stopped flights to and from China.

The New York Times reported Sunday evening that the total death toll has surpassed 360.

Update, February 3, 2020:  As of 8:00 a.m. EST, the number of coronavirus cases in the United States is reported at 11.


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