Two people on last flights out of Wuhan develop possible coronavirus symptoms

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The last two flights that the US State Department chartered to evacuate Americans from the coronavirus outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China, have landed in Texas and California after one passenger on each showed symptoms of coronavirus, forcing the planes to be held temporarily. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sources told Fox that there were ‘two persons of interest’ had started to show signs of the virus, such as cough, trouble breathing or fever. 

The first plane has now landed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego after being paused in Vancouver, Canada. 

A second plane slated has landed Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas – with its final destination at  Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska – after being held at Travis Air Force Base in California. 

Each plane is thought to be carrying about 300 passengers, and the last the State Department spoke to Wuhan evacuations, these were the last evacuees the US had any intention of going back to rescue. 

Once they reach their final d destinations at the San Diego, San Antonio and Omaha air bases (passengers from the first plane will be dropped off in both Texas and Nebraska), the evacuees will join hundreds of other Americans repatriated from Wuhan and will be placed under a 14-day federally mandated quarantine. 

So far, more than 800 Americans have been evacuated from Wuhan, the White House’s coronavirus task force said on Friday. 

In addition to travel restrictions and quarantines, the task force is working on the development of vaccines, additional diagnostics and treatments, one of which is on track to begin clinical trials in humans in two-and-a-half months, said National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases Dr Anthony Fauci during a Friday press briefing.

And US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the Trump Administration is prepared to commit up to $100 million to the ongoing efforts to fight the outbreak. 

The task force said that while the outbreak is ‘beyond containment’ in China, and the virus does appear to be transmissible even when a patient doesn’t have symptoms, the risk remains low in the US.  

So far, 12 cases have been confirmed on US soil, though some are improving. 

On Thursday, a husband and wife who were the first case of human-to-human transmission of coronavirus in the US were discharged from the hospital and sent home to self-isolate. 

The first US patient as well as a pair of infected Chicago patients were released from the hospital this week after treatment. 

Earlier this week, patient zero in the US, a 36-year-old man in Washington state, was also discharged from the hospital. He had been treated experimentally with Remdesivir, a drug developed originally to treat Ebola, and a case report says a single dose led to significant improvement of his symptoms. 

California has the greatest number of coronavirus cases, at six, including a husband and wife who are the second case of human-to-human transmission in the US. 

In addition to the original patient in Washington and the pair in Illinois, Arizona and Washington each have on cases of coronavirus. 

The most recent US case diagnosed was in Wisconsin, in a person of undisclosed age and sex.  

Other possible cases under investigation are in Pennsylvania, where a Lafayette College student who has visited China developed symptoms, and in Texas, where a man has been tested but the results have not yet come back.

In California, a second child was taken from quarantine at March Air Reserve to the hospital this week with a fever, though they had no other symptoms. The first child that was taken to the hospital from the base has since tested negative for the virus. 

Meanwhile, a person in New Jersey has been placed under mandatory quarantine after traveling from the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China. 

The woman, who is not a resident of the state, flew from Hubei Province to Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday on a United Airlines flight, according to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).

She did not show any symptoms of coronavirus but, because she traveled within the province where the virus originated, health officials told her she had to be placed under quarantine.

The NJDOH said the woman is staying at an undisclosed location in Essex County where she will be monitored. 

Similarly, a man in California who had recently been to the Hubei province of China – the region that Wuhan is located in – has been transported to March Air Reserve for quarantine per the protocols announced by the White House’s coronavirus task force last Friday.  

There are now more than 21,000 confirmed cases worldwide, in at least 27 countries and territories, and more than 630 people – all but two of which were in China – have died. 

Five planes have now returned to the US, carrying more than 800 passengers evacuated from Wuhan. 

The first was chartered by the State Department to retrieve diplomats from the epicenter of the outbreak after Wuhan was put on lockdown. 

Following that first flight, another four were chartered to rescue stranded visitors. 

According to the White House’s Friday press briefing, the US sent 18 tons of medical supplies – such as gowns, masks and gloves – on the flights to China, where shortages are a growing concern.  

But following the Trump administration’s travel restrictions, they and any citizen or close family member of a citizen who returns to the US within two weeks of travel to Hubei, will be held in a federally mandated quarantine for 14 days. 

This is the first time the CDC has mandated a quarantine in 50 years.

Quarantines have been set up on the grounds of several Air Force bases, including March Air Reserve, Travis Air Force Base and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, all in California. 

An additional quarantine is ready set up at the Fire Training Academy in North Bend, Washington and, ostensibly, at or near the Texas and Nebraska air bases where one of the two last flights out of Wuhan landed Friday. 

A child who was among the 195 Americans on the first flight evacuated from Wuhan, and who are now quarantined at March Air Reserve in Riverside, California, has been hospitalized with a fever, but later tested negative for coronavirus and was taken back to quarantine. 

Wednesday night, another child with a fever followed that same trajectory, though the results of their coronavirus test have not been announced.  

Aside from a fever, neither child had other symptoms, according to Jose Arballo, Jr, a spokesman from the Riverside County Department of Public Health. 

Quarantined Americans on the bases, where they are mostly staying in on-base hotels, are entertaining themselves by learning Zumba and boxing, drawing on sidewalks and teaching one another various skills.  

Hundreds more people – including Americans – are currently quarantined on cruise ships, or have been taken off of them for treatment. 

In Japan, eight Americans who were on the now-quarantined Diamond Princess ship have been diagnosed with coronavirus. 

Another cruise ship-turned-floating-quarantine has now docked near New York City. Twenty-seven of its passengers were further screened, and four were taken to a hospital for examination and testing for coronavirus. 

During the Friday press briefing, CDC director Dr Robert Redfield said that while Americans should not be afraid to take any cruise, they might consider what parts of the world the ship was going to or had been, and how likely contact with travelers from China would be.  

Surging cases of coronavirus last month triggered stock price free falls. Public health experts reminded the world that just six months of the 2003 SARS outbreak cost the global economy some $40 billion – and warned that 2019-nCoV could cost more. 

‘The novel coronavirus outbreak has now spread to 27 other countries and I’m now pleased to announce that the US government is ready to spend up to $100 million to assist China and other countries…and the WHO to combat coronavirus,’ said HHS Secretary Azar on Friday. 

The financing promise was made in spite of his acknowledgment that China has yet to allow American scientists into the country to study coronavirus (although several US scientists seem to be among the group of WHO experts that the international agency has said will now be able to go into China to study and assist with the outbreak). 

‘Our long-standing offer to send world class experts from the US to assist China remains on the table,’ said Secretary Azar. 

Last week, The HHS sent notice to Congress that it may request to transfer funds to further support work against the outbreak, but Azar said that for the moment the response is still being financed by the $105 million allocated to US agencies for tackling health emergencies. 

So far, that’s helped the CDC to ship its emergently-authorized coronavirus test to more than 100 US labs, in an effort to expedite screening and contact tracing. 

CDC and National Institutes of Health (NIH) officials have also partnered with private pharma firms in the hopes of creating additional tests, vaccines and treatments. 

Dr Fauci said on Friday that US officials had been pursuing two treatment options, and one has been identified as a solid ‘candidate’ therapy. 

The drug, Remdesivir, was originally developed to treat Ebola, but doctors believe that it was responsible for easing the symptoms of the first US coronavirus patient after just one test.

And now, Dr Fauci says it’s on track for development into a more broadly distributed treatment. 

He said a clinical trial has already begun in China and that one should be starting soon in the US, too. 

‘I’m happy to tell you there have been no glitches,’ in the development so far, Dr Fauci said Friday. 

‘It succeeded in the first step, now we put it in mouse models…thus far no glitches and I think there will likely not be, and if that occurs, we will be in people with a phase 1 trial within two-and-a-half months.’  

  

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced LAST WEEK that it was declaring the deadly coronavirus outbreak spreading from China to be a global health emergency.

The warning, officially known as a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ and defined as an ‘extraordinary event’, is the highest alert the UN health agency can issue.

Just one week ago, the organization decided to hold off the declaration as there was no evidence of human-to-human evidence outside of China.

However, in the week since, the number of cases surged ten-fold. 

‘The main reason for this declaration is not for what is happening in China but because of what is happening in other countries,’ Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, said at a press conference.

‘Our greatest concern is for the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, which are ill prepared to deal with it.’

He added that the declaration didn’t mean a ‘vote of no confidence in China’ and, in fact, congratulated the Chinese government for taking ‘extraordinary measures’ to contain the outbreak.

This marks the fifth time the WHO has made such a declaration since the rule to do was implemented in 2005: for the influenza pandemic of 2009, a resurgence of polio 2014, the Ebola crisis in 2014, the outbreak of Zika virus outbreak in 2016 and the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2019.

Such a declaration does not give the WHO more money, but officials can make recommendation on travel or trade was well as mobilize public and political action.

 

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