About 300 people have been diagnosed in an outbreak linked to a new virus in China. The illnesses began late last month in the city of Wuhan in central China, and six people have died. Scientists have identified the illness as a new kind of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. Others have evolved into more severe illnesses, such as SARS and MERS, though so far the new virus does not appear to be nearly as deadly.
WHAT’S NEW TODAY?
- The first U.S. case has been reported. The Washington state resident recently returned from a trip to central China and is hospitalized in good condition. Similar cases among Chinese travelers have also been identified in South Korea, Japan and Thailand.
- In China, face masks sold out and officials checked airline and train passengers for fevers. Many people wore masks in Wuhan, but residents appeared to be carrying on with their regular activities.
- Countries around the world are checking the body temperatures of arriving airline passengers who traveled to Wuhan. Officials hope the measures will slow the spread of the disease as millions of Chinese travel for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
- Global financial markets stumbled on concerns that the virus spreading in the world’s second-largest economy could hurt tourism and ultimately economic growth and corporate profits.
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