Daily updates on the emerging novel coronavirus from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
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February 27, 2020

EPI UPDATES China’s National Health Commission reported 433 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 29 new deaths, along with 508 suspected cases and 2,750 discharged patients were also reported. In total, 78,497 reports of confirmed cases and 2,744 deaths have been reported nationwide. CNBC Beijing Bureau Chief Eunice Yoon reported that health authorities in China’s Ningxia province identified an imported case with a travel history to Iran. 

Globally, a total of 2,918 cases and 44 deaths across 37 countries have been reported to the WHO. Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted at this morning’s press conference that “[f]or the past two days, the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the rest of the world has exceeded the number of new cases in China.” 

Iran reported 34 new cases yesterday, bringing the total there to 94. They have also registered 15 deaths, including 3 new ones yesterday.

NEW US CASE SPARKS TRANSMISSION CONCERNS The Washington Post reports that a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified in California. Notably, the case does not have a history of travel to China, which may signal that transmission occurred in the United States. A release by UC Davis Medical Center , the institution treating the patient, notes that the patient was transferred in from another hospital, and that testing was delayed. Contact tracing is underway. In total, there are 60 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US, a figure that includes evacuees from the Diamond Princess. 

EUROPEAN REGION New cases have been found for the first time in two regions of Germany, Baden-Wurttemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia. The Ministry of Health reports 26 confirmed cases total, at least one of which is reported to be in serious condition.Health Minister Jens Spahn warns that the country is “at the beginning of a coronavirus epidemic in Germany.” Details on how many of the newly identified cases have epidemiological links to affected areas or other confirmed cases were not immediately available. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reports more than five locally acquired cases have been found in Italy, Germany, and France. The UK, Spain, Croatia and Romania have one locally acquired case each.

WESTERN PACIFIC REGION The Republic of Korea tested 8,662 samples during the day on Thursday, of which 171 were positive. The cumulative case count there is now 1,766. The country also reported one new death, bringing the total there to 13. The ROK Ministry of Health also reported that genetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 from six patients found no evidence of mutations relevant to cell-binding. In Japan, 23 new cases were reported on Feb 27, bringing the total there to 210. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked that all schools will be closed beginning on Monday, and that the closures are expected to continue through spring break in late March. Elsewhere in the Western Pacific region, Singapore and Australia each reported one new case to the WHO yesterday, bringing the totals there to 91 and 23, respectively. In other news, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the release of the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

PRESIDENT TRUMP ADDRESSES THE NATION Last night, President Trump gave a national address on the coronavirus outbreak and the status of the US response. In it, he announced that Vice President Pence would be taking charge of the federal response. Subsequently , acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney directed other administration officials to route all media requests regarding COVID-19 through the Vice President’s office. This morning, the Vice President appointed Amb. Debbie Birx to serve as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator.