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Special Issue 1, March 2020 – Coronavirus OutbreakFor e-subscribers (PDF)
Coronavirus in the US High Alert But Optimistic
by Yubing Zhai, (VP/Executive Editor, World Scientific, New Jersey, USA)

The United States reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with COVID-19 on January 30, 2020. It now has 15 confirmed cases.

California – 8 cases
Illinois – 2 cases
Arizona – 1 case
Washington – 1 case (First confirmed case of the coronavirus in the US)
Massachusetts – 1 case
Wisconsin – 1 case
Texas – 1 case

Most of those patients had recently returned from Wuhan, China. One had traveled to Beijing and interacted with individuals from Wuhan, China. There were also cases of person-to-person transmission when a traveler infected their spouse.

On January 27, 2020, CDC issued updated travel guidance for China, recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to all of the country. On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19. Also on January 31, President Trump signed a presidential “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus“:

  • Effective February 2, 2020 at 5pm, the U.S. government suspended entry of foreign nationals who have been in China within the past 14 days.

  • U.S. citizens, residents and their immediate family members who have been in Hubei province and other parts of mainland China are allowed to enter the United States, but they will be redirected to one of 11 airports where CDC has quarantine stations. They will undergo health screening. Depending on their health and travel history, they will have some level of restrictions on their movements for 14 days from the time they left China.

    Travelers who have been in Hubei Province in the past 14 days:

    • If you have fever, cough, or trouble breathing: CDC staff at the airport will evaluate you for illness. You will be taken to a medical facility for further evaluation and care. You will not be able to complete your travel itinerary.

    • If you do not have symptoms (fever, cough, trouble breathing): You will be placed under a federal, state or local quarantine order for a 14-day period from the time you left China. You may not be able to complete your travel itinerary until the 14-day period has elapsed.
  • Travelers from other parts of China (outside Hubei Province) in the last 14 days:

    • If you have fever, cough, or trouble breathing:CDC staff at the airport will evaluate you for illness. You will be taken to a medical facility for further evaluation and care. You may not be able to complete your travel itinerary.

    • If you do not have symptoms: You will be allowed to reach your final destination. After arrival at your final destination, you will be asked to monitor your health for a period of 14 days from the time you left China. During that time, you should stay home and limit interactions with others as much as possible. Take your temperature with a thermometer 2 times a day and watch your health. Your state or local health department will contact you for further follow up.

US government has sent charter flights to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan. In addition, over 300 American passengers were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan. All evacuees will be quarantined at military bases for 14 days.

Major US airlines have suspected flights to and from China until late April. Most US companies have suspended travels to China, and any employee returns from China are to self-quarantine for 14 days. Some companies such as Apple, Tesla, and Starbucks have temporarily closed its offices, stores or factories in China.

It’s too early to assess the full financial impact of the outbreak. But the disruption to Chinese manufacturers has rippled through global supply chains, making it difficult for companies to obtain parts. Industries that rely on Chinese consumers or tourists are also taking a hit.

Amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Gilead Sciences’ experimental remdesivir has emerged as the most promising candidate against the pathogen. Doctors in Washington State gave remdesivir to the first coronavirus patient in the United States after his condition worsened and pneumonia developed when he’d been in the hospital for a week. His symptoms improved the next day. Studies of infected mice and monkeys have suggested that remdesivir can fight coronaviruses. Another report published by scientists in China showed that remdesivir blocked the new coronavirus, from infecting cells grown in the lab. On Feb. 6, China began enrolling patients in a clinical trial of remdesivir.

Click here for the complete issue.

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