Daily updates on the emerging novel coronavirus from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
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January 25, 2020 - Update
EPI UPDATES China's National Health Commission reports 1,287 confirmed cases and 41 deaths as of 24 January. Beijing News (state media) is reporting 1,372 cases as of 25 January. There are also reports show that one of the newly reported deaths was a 62 year-old, physician who had been working in the response efforts for the ongoing outbreak. Details of the circumstances of his death are not immediately available.
These numbers are a show a sharp increase from the latest WHO situation report published yesterday. The report had listed the risk of 2019-nCov as “very high” in China, “high” for neighboring areas, and “moderate” at the global level.
Globally, at least 26 cases have been reported outside of China. On 24 January the WHO reported the first case of human to human transmission observed outside of China.
WUHAN UPDATES Several reports indicate that Wuhan City expanding the number of treatment facilities dedicated to nCoV patients. China Newsreported that Wuhan has transitioned 14 general hospitals into hospitals to treat suspected and confirmed cases of nCoV. There are plans to expand this effort to include 24 hospitals with a goal for 10,000 beds for nCoV patients. This news comes amidst reports of continuous efforts to rapidly construct a facility with up to 1,000 beds for nCoV patients.
NPR reports that Wuhan hospitals are facing a growing demand on medical supplies and have made official requests for public donations to bolster their reserves. Some reports suggest that there may only be enough supplies to last 3-5 days. Several news outlets are reporting that Chinese State officials have expanded the group of military medical professionals to over 100. Eighty-five hotels throughout Wuhan city are voluntarily hosting front-line medical workers.
BEIJING UPDATEBeijing News reported 10 new cases of nCoV within the capital city. These new cases brought the total number of confirmed nCoV patients in Beijing to 51 across several districts. Reports sharethat state officials plan to close all inter-provincial roads to Beijing tomorrow in hopes of mitigating additional spread to the city.
CHINESE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping issued a statement citing “grave concerns” around the increased spread of nCoV throughout the country. Several of China’s largest cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have enacted the highest level designation for a public health emergency. This designation allows the State Council to take over the public health and medical response, shifting responsibilities from local governments to a central government approach. This news follows movement restrictions in multiple cities, along with halting celebrations for the Lunar New Year and the extended closure of schools in some regions. Beginning January 27, additional restrictions will been placed on travel within the country and to all destinations overseas.
Outside of mainland China, Hong Kong has announced the closure of schools.
UNITED STATES RESPONSE Following confirmation of a second imported 2019-nCoV case in Chicago, the United States Department of State issued a level four travel advisory for Hubei province, China, recommending no travel to that part of the country. The remainder of China remains at a ‘Level 2’, suggesting increased caution. There are also reports that the United States is planning on sending a plane to Wuhan, China to remove over 200 US officials from the city.
SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS AND REPORTS Yesterday afternoon, the New England Journal of Medicine released a new paper outlining a study that uses unbiased sequencing from early pneumonia patients in Wuhan City to identify nCoV as the causative pathogen of the ongoing outbreak.
The MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, a center within Imperial College London and a WHO Collaborating Centre, had published two reports estimating the potential case numbers of nCoV in Wuhan City. Today, the group released their third report estimating the transmissibility of the 2019-nCoV virus. The report concludes that there must be some level of self-sustaining human-to-human transmission, with an estimated reproduction number of 2.6 (range 1.5 - 3.5). The paper also includes a robust discussion of the implications of early modeling results on epidemic control.