Updated Jan 30, 2020

6 Americans now confirmed with coronavirus, CDC says

Stuart Marcus, chief clinical officer of Amita Health Chicago, briefs the media regarding the second confirmed case of Wuhan Coronavirus in the U.S., Jan. 24, outside St. Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Photo: Derek R. Henkle/AFP via Getty Images

Six Americans — in California (2), Arizona, Washington state, and Chicago (2) — have the novel coronavirus that's been spreading from China, as of Thursday according to the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention.

What they're saying: "We need to prepare as if this is a pandemic, but we hope it is not," Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease told a press conference on Sunday.

  • "The risk to Americans is low at this time but the threat is serious and the public health response is aggressive."

The latest:

  • The CDC confirmed Thursday the first person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S. Officials said a Chicago woman who traveled to Wuhan, China, the center of the outbreak, spread it to her husband.
  • While U.S. public health officials have seen no evidence that the virus is infectious before a person shows symptoms — something that would likely call for stronger screening programs — they are investigating reports from two recent studies that point to that possibility.

By the numbers: There are 92 people under investigation in 36 states, Messonnier says.

  • "We expect there to be additional cases of coronavirus in the United States," she says.

What's next: The CDC plans to update its numbers on Friday.

  • Public health officials are working to develop specific diagnostics, therapies and vaccines for this particular virus. They've isolated the genetic sequence from the first patient in the U.S. and are comparing this to the first patient found in China to see how it's evolving.

Background: Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means they can transmit from animal to human and then have the ability to evolve so they can transmit between humans. They range in severity from causing the common cold to deadly diseases like SARS and MERS.

  • SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, was believed to have originally transmitted from civet cats to humans, although recent genetic testing shows bats are the natural hosts. It was first reported in China in 2002 and recognized as a global threat in 2003, resulting in 774 deaths and serious economic impact. It mysteriously disappeared, for now.
  • MERS, or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, is believed to have originally transmitted from dromedary camels to humans. It was first reported in Jordan and Saudi Arabia in 2012, had two U.S. cases in 2014, and it continues to circulate mostly in the Middle East where the CDC is monitoring it.

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Americans still have low risk of coronavirus infection, CDC says

National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director Nancy Messonnier speaks during a press conference on the coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The risk of U.S. residents becoming infected by the coronavirus that's devastating China remains low right now, public health officials said Monday, even as there's growing pressure to ramp up U.S. and international pandemic preparedness.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020

China to admit international experts to examine coronavirus

Alex Azar speaks during a Jan. 28 press conference on the coordinated public health response to 2019-nCoV, with Robert Redfield (L), Nancy Messonnier and Anthony Fauci. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

China agreed on Tuesday to allow international experts, expected to include Americans, to work on the ground with their scientists on the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Why it matters: Roughly 60 cases are outside mainland China, where the outbreak has infected at least 4,633 people. While China quickly provided global access to the virus genome, the epidemiology of how the virus works is hard to determine from outside China with little public data.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020

Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Italy's government announced emergency measures — including quarantines for several northern towns — as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 coronavirus cases in a matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

The big picture: The coronavirus has spread to more countries, with both South Korea and Italy stepping up emergency measures amid rising case numbers on Sunday. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,467 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 38 mins ago - Health