[International Business Times] Coronavirus USA Update: 44 Americans Infected With Covid-19, Others On Cruise Ship Return To US
- CDC says all 44 Americans thus far confirmed as carriers of Covid-19 will be treated in Japan
- It's flying home more than 400 other Americans that were passengers aboard the cruise ship
- It fears some of these passengers might fall sick from Covid-19 en route to the U.S.
There are only 15 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections in the United States but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now attests 44 Americans aboard the quarantined cruise ship, Diamond Princess, docked in Japan have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.
It's likely the number will exceed 44 as coronavirus test results come in from the more than 400 Americans aboard this luxury ship that's lain in dock at Yokohama since February 3. The 400 uninfected people have started the process of evacuation, being flown back to the U.S. on special chartered flights starting Sunday evening.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), confirms 40 Americans on the Diamond Princess have been infected but not all are sick. He told CBS " Face the Nation" the infected Americans aboard the cruise ship won't return to the United States but will instead be treated at hospitals in Japan. The high percentage of infected Americans is due to their confinement in a small space.
"The reason for that is that the degree of transmissibility on that cruise ship is essentially akin to being in a hot spot," said Dr. Fauci. "A lot of transmissibility on that cruise ship."
He said if passengers that haven't yet shown any sign of Covid-19 start to develop symptoms while in the planes bound for the U.S., "they'll be segregated within the plane."
As of its last update on February 14, CDC reported 15 persons in the U.S. testing positive for Covid-19. A total of 81 cases remain pending. CDC said 347 cases turned out negative.
On the other hand, Japan reported 218 passengers aboard the Diamond Princes tested positive for Covid-19, as of February 15. On Sunday, however, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) said another 70 cases of the coronavirus infection were confirmed aboard the cruise ship.
This brings the total number of cases aboard the ship to 355 as of Sunday. This total is the largest confirmed cluster outside mainland China.
On Sunday, Japan reported six new cases of Covid-19 infections outside the Diamond Princess. This brings Japan's total number of local infections to 59, said NHK, Japan's public broadcaster.
The global casualty count from the coronavirus is already disconcerting. As of 5:07 p.m., Sunday, Hong Kong time, the official toll from Covid-19 worldwide stands at 71,223 confirmed cases (of which 70,445 are in mainland China) with 1,770 deaths (of which 1,765 are in mainland China). China's National Health Commission (NHC) reports 10,607 people have recovered from the disease.
There have been five deaths from the disease outside mainland China. One person has each died in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, France and the Republic of China (Taiwan). The death in Taiwan was reported Saturday.
Early Monday morning (local time), Hubei's Health and Family Planning Commission (HFPC) reported 100 new deaths due to Covid-19 and 1,933 newly confirmed cases. This brings the total announced by HFPC to 1,696 and 58,182. HFPC reported 1,843 newly confirmed cases and 139 fatalities on Saturday.
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