Coronavirus update: CDC expands testing locations; Is the US prepared?

By Paul Basilio, MDLinx
Published February 5, 2020

Key Takeaways

We're bringing you the latest news on coronavirus, all in one place: 

There are currently 11 confirmed cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus infection in the United States—six in California, two in Illinois, and one each in Massachusetts, Washington, and Arizona.

  • A woman who had been hospitalized due to suspected infection with coronavirus in New York City has tested negative for the virus, according to the New York Times. Results of samples from two other patients in the city are pending.

  • Currently, samples must be sent to the CDC in Atlanta, GA, for testing, which can take several days. However, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to enable use of the CDC’s real-time RT-PCR diagnostic panel. This will allow testing of samples at any CDC-qualified lab in the US.

  • In Japan, 10 people have tested positive for the virus aboard a cruise ship. One crew member and nine passengers—two Australians, three Japanese, three from Hong Kong, and one from the US—showed signs of infection, according to NBC News. Approximately 3,700 people are on board the ship. They will be held in quarantine for 10 to 14 days, according to the cruise ship company.

  • Three teams from China, Australia, and France have succeeded in cultivating the virus in the laboratory. This offers a greater potential to study the virus with the hope of finding a potential treatment.

  • US Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) harshly criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the outbreak: “For years, many of us have warned that Trump's attacks on global health programs, and his complete disinterest in protecting America from pandemic diseases, would have consequences for our nation's safety. Now, the day of consequence is arriving,” said Murphy, who is a member of the US Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations committees. “Epidemics like the coronavirus require a whole-of-government response. Congress must take the lead—we must pass an emergency funding bill that will force the administration to adequately respond to the coronavirus and prepare us for future pandemics. The President must also immediately re-establish the National Security Council directorate to deal with epidemic preparedness and response, before this turns into a full-blown crisis.”

  • In Canada, a man traveling on a plane from Toronto to Jamaica was arrested after standing up and announcing that he had recently been to China and had the virus. He later admitted he was attempting to make a viral video, and that he was “joking.”

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