U.S. health officials confirmed on Thursday the nation’s first person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus, which has already killed at least 171 people in China and infected more than 8,200 since emerging less than a month ago.
The new patient is the husband of the Chicago woman who brought the infection back from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, CDC and Illinois health officials said during a press briefing. Health officials said the man, in his 60s, has “some underlying medical conditions” but was in good condition. His wife was doing well but remained in isolation at a local hospital, they said. . .
“This is a very serious public health situation,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Moving forward, we can expect to see more cases, and more cases means more potential for person-to-person spread.”
The virus, which emerged Dec. 31, has already spread to more people than the 2003 SARS epidemic, which sickened roughly 8,100 people across the globe over nine months. The transmission makes the U.S. at least the fifth country where the infection is now spreading through human-to-human contact, including China. Officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there are at least nine cases of human-to-human transmission outside of China, as of Thursday. . .
U.S. officials are working to contain the outbreak from spreading in the country, including by increasing travel warnings and expanding screening at 20 U.S. airports. Trump administration officials have said they are constantly evaluating the situation and could take more drastic action if needed. (Read more from “Cdc Confirms First Human-To-Human Transmission of Coronavirus in U.S.” HERE)