Coronavirus Disease

The 2020 novel coronavirus disease outbreak originated in Wuhan, China. Officially designated as COVID-19, the illness has symptoms similar to the flu -- fever, cough and shortness of breath. According to the CDC, early on, many patients repotedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occuring.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling Americans that they should be prepared for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their community.

But what does preparedness look like in practice? The short answer: Don't panic — but do prepare.

Updated at 6:52 p.m. ET

The U.S. health care system is trying to be ready for possible outbreaks of the new coronavirus, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned communities this week to prepare for the kind of spread now being seen in Iran, Italy, South Korea and other areas outside the virus' epicenter in China.

As fears spread of a wider coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., experts in global health pandemics as well as some of President Trump's leading political adversaries contend that the federal government's response may be lacking a key figure: a coronavirus czar.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention / CDC.gov

North Carolina’s Coronavirus Disease Task Force is working on response plans to the potential spread of COVID-19 in the United States and the state, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.

Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET

Federal health officials issued a blunt message Tuesday: Americans need to start preparing now for the possibility that more aggressive, disruptive measures might be needed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S.

The strongly worded warning came in response to outbreaks of the virus outside China, including in Iran, Japan, South Korea and Italy, which officials say have raised the likelihood of outbreaks occurring stateside.

Kenichi Wiegardt can really shuck oysters. His hands work at a dizzying pace opening the shells, a rhythmic thump, thump, crack, slice. Then oyster meat blurps into a strainer over and over.

Wiegardt, a fifth-generation oysterman, makes his living in the mud of Willapa Bay on Washington's coast.

"This time of year we should be shucking 40 to 45 hours a week, and we're down to 15 to 18 hours," Wiegardt says.

Despite worrisome new outbreaks in Iran, Italy and South Korea, the coronavirus disease called COVID-19 is not currently a pandemic, the World Health Organization said today.

In fact, there are some encouraging trends, especially in Hubei province, where most of the cases have been reported.

The epidemic there appears to have plateaued in late January and is continuing on a good trajectory. Dr. Bruce Aylward led a WHO trip to China with a scientific delegation that just concluded. On Sunday, he told reporters in Beijing that trend is real.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

The coronavirus contagion has spread to Wall Street.

U.S. markets fell sharply Monday amid widening concern that the continuing spread of cases could lead to a global pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled nearly 1032 points, or 3.56% All of the major market indexes were down more than 3%.

Stock markets in Europe and Asia were also down sharply.

"This is not a health pandemic yet, but it's rapidly becoming an economic pandemic," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Fourteen U.S. passengers evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan and flown to military bases in California and Texas have tested positive for the new coronavirus, U.S. officials confirm.

Earlier, on Sunday, U.S. officials announced that 44 people from the Diamond Princess ship had tested positive for coronavirus. Those who were sick were to remain in Japan to be treated.

As cities across China remain on quarantine lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, the epidemic is testing the country's ability to get food to its citizens.

Restaurants and cafes have been closed since the end of January, leaving grocery stores as one of the few options for buying food. With families encouraged, or sometimes forced, to stay at home, supplies are often hoarded. Shipments of food from other cities across China take time, as many places have closed off roads.

Another 70 cases of the coronavirus infection have been confirmed aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, currently quarantined in Japan, according to Japanese health officials.

This brings the total number of cases aboard the vessel as of Sunday to 355, the largest confirmed cluster outside mainland China. People with confirmed infections have been taken to hospitals in Japan.

The current top-trending movie rentals and purchases were all released within the last few months with one notable exception: Contagion, the Gwyneth Paltrow-starring film from 2011 about a worldwide virus outbreak that starts in Hong Kong.

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris speaks to reporters February 14, 2020.
Claire Donnelly / WFAE

Mecklenburg County health officials said Friday the travelers from China they are monitoring so far show no signs of the novel coronavirus.

It's the season for colds and flus — and a newly identified respiratory disease, COVID-19.

To cut your risk of catching a respiratory illness on your next flight, experts offer two pieces of common-sense advice: Wash your hands frequently and keep a distance from people who are sick.

Where to sit to prevent getting sick

A 2018 study suggests that to minimize contact with other passengers, you should pick a window seat and stay put.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention / CDC.gov

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization gave an official name to the disease caused by the new coronavirus that’s sickened thousands of people in China: COVID-19. Within hours, North Carolina annonced it was pulling together a task force of health officials to help prevent the spread of the virus here — something that so far hasn’t been a problem.

The new coronavirus disease that was first identified in Wuhan has received an official name from the World Health Organization: "COVID-19."

"COVI" comes from coronavirus. The "D" stands for disease. The 19 represents 2019, the year the virus was first identified, in December.

The name will apply for the "entire spectrum" of cases, from mild to severe, according to a WHO spokesperson.

China's government on Tuesday fired two senior health officials in Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, placing Beijing in direct control of efforts there to contain its spread.

The move came on the same day the country reported 108 new deaths from the virus, the highest single-day number to date, representing about 10% of all fatalities since the outbreak began.

Updated at 8:09 p.m. ET

There are 65 new coronavirus cases aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been under a quarantine since last week, Japan's health ministry announced Monday. With the latest cases, a total of 135 people from the ship have been confirmed to have the respiratory virus.

Those newly diagnosed include 45 Japanese and 11 Americans, as well as smaller numbers of people from Australia, Canada, England, the Philippines and Ukraine, according to Princess Cruises.

Updated at 8:07 p.m. ET

The head of the World Health Organization is warning that a few cases of the novel coronavirus that have been spread by people who never traveled to China could be "the tip of the iceberg," as officials reported on Tuesday local time that the country's death toll had passed 1,000 from the new virus.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities lashed out at Western media reports that Beijing was not fully cooperating with international health experts.

coronavirus
National Institutes of Health

Mecklenburg County Public Health is monitoring four travelers from China who have been deemed at “medium risk” of developing or infecting others with the novel coronavirus, County Manager Dena Diorio said.

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