As of Sunday, the first death outside of China has occurred in the Philippines. It was a 44-year-old man who was resident of Wuhan and had arrived in the Philippines on January 21st. As it stands now, the number of deaths is over 360 with the majority of them occurring in different areas of China. The number of infected individuals has surpassed 17,000 worldwide. This has led to an increasing number of countries to put in place travel restrictions for individuals coming from China.
As of Monday, there are 29 confirmed cases in the United States with 14 of those coming from the 300 individuals who were evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan and flown back home. All of the passengers will be placed in a 14-day quarantine on US military bases. Some of the infected individuals were taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. This is one of the places were Ebola patients were treated in 2014. So far, the majority of people infected in the US have traveled to China, specifically near Wuhan.
Another cruise, Diamond Princess, is currently docked in Yokohama, Japan has about 3,700 people on board. It was placed under a 14-day quarantine after an 80-year-old passenger who disembarked last month tested positive for the new coronavirus. So far, 61 people currently on the ship have tested positive for the virus. In addition, the ship, World Dream, has 3,600 people on board who aren’t allowed to disembark in Hong Kong after eight people who were on a prior trip were found to have tested positive.
The first suspected case of the coronavirus in New York City appeared on Saturday with two more possible cases identified by Sunday. The initial individual is a woman under 40 and was tested based on her travel history and symptoms of fever, cough and runny nose. The reason the new coronavirus is suspected is because she had tested negative for influenza and other common illnesses. Health officials state that they don’t expect to receive the results back from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta for at least 36-48 hours. Local labs do not have the capability to run the tests at this time. The other two potential cases are individuals over the age of 60 with fever, coughing and shortness of breath.
The government has promised to take a strong stance in protecting Americans against the virus. As of Sunday, this has led the Trump administration to order that any American who visited the Hubei province in the last two weeks be subjected to quarantine up to 14 days after arriving home. It’s unclear how encompassing the quarantine will become and how many people will be impacted. This is a pretty big step. While the federal government does have the legal authority to do this under the 1944 Public Health Service Act, it brings not only logistical challenges and strains on local authorities, but legal implications as well. This is why the responsibility typically falls to the states since they have more power to quarantine people under the 10th Amendment and are usually better equipped to handle public health emergencies. The last time a federal quarantine was issued was over 50 years ago.