At least 34 people in the United States are infected with the new coronavirus spreading from China, federal health officials said on Friday.
Thirteen of the infections were diagnosed in travelers who fell ill after returning from overseas, and 21 in people “repatriated” by the State Department.
More infections are expected among the people who were passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and are in quarantine, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said at a news briefing.
Because they may have been in contact with infected people on the ship, “they are considered at high risk for infection,” Dr. Messonnier said.
Ten other passengers from the Diamond Princess tested positive in Japan, but are not being counted among the infected yet, because the tests have not been confirmed by the C.D.C. They will likely be added to the case count, Dr. Messonnier said.
Several Americans remain critically ill with the infection in Japanese hospitals. They were among the passengers aboard the Diamond Princess, which was overwhelmed with infections after it docked in Yokahama, Japan.
The Coronavirus Outbreak
What do you need to know? Start here.
Updated Feb. 10, 2020
What is a Coronavirus?
It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
How contagious is the virus?
According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
Where has the virus spread?
The virus originated in Wuhan, China, and has sickened tens of thousands of people in China and at least two dozen other countries.
How worried should I be?
While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
Who is working to contain the virus?
World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
What if I’m traveling?
The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
How do I keep myself and others safe?
Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
- What is a Coronavirus?
As of Friday, the coronavirus has infected at least 75,000 people, the vast majority in mainland China, and has killed 2,240.
“This new virus represents a tremendous public health threat,” Dr. Messonnier said.
Please check back for updates on this developing story.