February 11, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States has reached 13. COVID-19 is the new name given by the WHO today to the condition caused by the novel coronavirus spreading across the globe.
The latest case, announced Feb. 11, 2020, by the CDC, was in a person in California who was previously under federal quarantine because the patient had traveled to Wuhan, China.
The CDC is currently looking into who the patient may have come in contact with to understand the potential for further spread of the coronavirus.
"The contact investigation is ongoing," CDC principal deputy director Anne Schuchat, MD, said during a Feb. 11 press conference to provide an update on coronavirus containment activities being taken by the CDC.
Dr. Schuchat also addressed issues related to the laboratory test, as the patient in California was initially thought to be negative for the coronavirus.
"With other cases around the country that we are evaluating, we have been doing serial tests to understand whether they are still infectious" and to gather other information about how results change over time, Dr. Schuchat said.
She noted that the CDC does not "have as much information as we would like on the severity of the virus," noting that there are many cases in China with severe reactions, while the 13 cases in the United States represent a much more mild reaction to the virus so far.
With the latest case in California, she noted that there was "probably a mix-up and the original test wasn't negative," although she did not elaborate on what the nature of the mix-up was, stating that was all the information that she had.
In general, Dr. Schuchat touted the actions taken by the CDC and the federal government focused primarily on containing the spread of the virus in the United States, including the implementation of travel advisories, quarantining passengers returning from China, as well as the new test kits that are being distributed by the agency across the nation and around the world. She also mentioned CDC staff are being deployed around the world to monitor the spreading of the disease and highlighted the outreach efforts to keep the public informed.
Dr. Schuchat highlighted the fact that, of the 13 cases in the United States, 11 were with patients that were in Wuhan, and only 2 were because of close contact with a patient, something that she attributed to the actions being taken.
She also noted that cases in the United States have not been as severe as they have been in China, where deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus outbreak. She added that there have been only two deaths outside of mainland China attributed to the coronavirus.
"Some of the steps the CDC has taken have really put us in better shape should widespread transmission occur in the United States," she said.
Dr. Schuchat also highlighted that the first charter flight of people quarantined after returning from Wuhan have reached the 14-day milestone and should be on their way home beginning today.