The death toll from the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak in China has reached 80, with hundreds of new infections detected. Meanwhile, US public health officials have confirmed new cases of the disease in Los Angeles and Arizona.
With 24 new deaths reported in Hubei Province – the epicenter of the outbreak – the overall toll from the novel coronavirus in China now stands at 80, with nearly 2,800 confirmed cases countrywide.
China has also revealed that the virus can spread before any symptoms show. The country’s Health Minister Ma Xiaowei confirmed the bad news on Sunday, which has panicked some US doctors.
Dr William Schaffner, an adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the news a “game changer” and said it means the virus is “more contagious than we originally thought.”
Each of the five US cases involve people who had traveled to Wuhan, China, recently. They are being treated and are currently in stable condition. The most recent victim is a member of the Arizona Student University, according to the Arizona Department of Health. The victim is not currently “severely ill.”
Though there are only five confirmed cases in the US, the CDC said they have “just over 100” people being investigated for the disease and they expect that number to go up.
The Chinese government is undertaking some drastic measures to contain the spread of the new virus. Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, has been virtually quarantined, while strict travel restrictions have been imposed in the entire Hubei Province.
The are currently no vaccines for the novel coronavirus, which has been described as similar to the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) pathogen, which killed hundreds in China and Hong Kong from 2002 to 2003. The disease is thought to have originated in an animal before being transmitted to a human, though the specific origins are still being debated.