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US coronavirus death toll jumps to 15

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The coronavirus death toll in the US is now at 15 after three more people were reported dead in Washington state as the number of confirmed cases across the country jumped to more than 250. 

Of the 15 deaths, 14 have been reported in Washington state and one in California

Many of the cases in Washington, including at least six deaths, have been linked to an outbreak at a nursing home facility in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland.

Fourteen of the Washington deaths have occurred in King County, which is where the nursing home is. One person died in nearby Snohomish County.  

The California death was linked to a cruise ship that was still being held 400 miles off the coast on San Francisco on Friday amid fears of a suspected coronavirus outbreak.

An increase in testing across the country has seen a jump in confirmed cases in Washington, New York and California – with Indiana and Pennsylvania reporting its first cases in the last 24 hours.    

The coronavirus death toll in the US is now at 14 after two more people were reported dead in Washington state. Many of the cases in Washington, including at least six deaths, have been linked to an outbreak at a nursing home facility (above) in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland

The coronavirus death toll in the US is now at 14 after two more people were reported dead in Washington state. Many of the cases in Washington, including at least six deaths, have been linked to an outbreak at a nursing home facility (above) in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland

The coronavirus death toll in the US is now at 14 after two more people were reported dead in Washington state. Many of the cases in Washington, including at least six deaths, have been linked to an outbreak at a nursing home facility (above) in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said on Friday that a man who was exposed to coronavirus on a trip to Boston had tested positive in the state’s first case.  

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said two people had tested positive in the state and they are both in self-isolation at their homes. One of the people had traveled overseas to a country where COVID-19 is present, while the other person had been exposed visiting another US state. 

Separate from those cases, five Pennsylvania school announced on Friday they would temporarily be closing as a precaution. 

The University of Washington has canceled classes and is making students take classes and finals remotely.  

In New York, two private Manhattan schools closed for sanitization and and one school in New Jersey also closed over fears some of its students may have been exposed to coronavirus.

The number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in New York state rose to 44 on Friday as at least 4,000 people were urged to self-quarantine. 

The majority of those cases are linked to a Manhattan lawyer who tested positive earlier in the week and infected his family, a neighbor and a friend’s family. Eleven of those were new cases reported on Friday. 

In Los Angeles, a group of 15 friends have tested positive for coronavirus following a trip to an exclusive ski resort in Italy. 

In Los Angeles, a group of 15 friends have tested positive for coronavirus following a trip to an exclusive ski resort in Italy. Pam Angel (above) told KCBS-TV that her husband and two sons were on the trip and all three have tested positive

In Los Angeles, a group of 15 friends have tested positive for coronavirus following a trip to an exclusive ski resort in Italy. Pam Angel (above) told KCBS-TV that her husband and two sons were on the trip and all three have tested positive

In Los Angeles, a group of 15 friends have tested positive for coronavirus following a trip to an exclusive ski resort in Italy. Pam Angel (above) told KCBS-TV that her husband and two sons were on the trip and all three have tested positive 

Pam Angel told KCBS-TV that her husband and two sons were on the trip and all three have tested positive. 

Her husband and one of her adult sons are in self-quarantine in the suburb of Tarzana – 10 miles from Kim Kardashian’s home – but her other son has underlying health issues and is being treated at Providence Tarzana Medical Center. 

‘He can’t talk without coughing. He feels like he has a pallet of bricks on his chest, he’s not eating,’ she said. 

The three men were among a group of about 15 who traveled back to the United States on February 27 after visiting Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomite Mountains, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal. 

The Los Angeles County Health Department has confirmed seven cases of coronavirus among a group of travelers who recently returned from northern Italy. But sources told DailyMail.com that the other members of the group, who reside elsewhere, have also fallen ill since returning home.

One of the men on the trip, who is a US citizen, is said to be in a coma in Switzerland where he now resides.

The rest of the men who were on the trip, who were said to be ‘previously healthy guys in their 40s and 50s’, have all since fallen ill with one coughing up blood, according to sources.

They live in states across the U.S, including Arizona where two cases have been reported. 

A group of 15 friends - some who live in Los Angeles - have tested positive for coronavirus following a trip to the Cortina d'Ampezzo (above) in Italy's Dolomite Mountains in February

A group of 15 friends - some who live in Los Angeles - have tested positive for coronavirus following a trip to the Cortina d'Ampezzo (above) in Italy's Dolomite Mountains in February

A group of 15 friends – some who live in Los Angeles – have tested positive for coronavirus following a trip to the Cortina d’Ampezzo (above) in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains in February

Three of the men on the trip live in Tarzana, which is about 10 miles from the city of Calabasas and home to Kim Kardashian.  The men were among a group of about 15 who traveled back to the United States on February 27 after visiting Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Dolomite Mountains

Three of the men on the trip live in Tarzana, which is about 10 miles from the city of Calabasas and home to Kim Kardashian.  The men were among a group of about 15 who traveled back to the United States on February 27 after visiting Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Dolomite Mountains

Three of the men on the trip live in Tarzana, which is about 10 miles from the city of Calabasas and home to Kim Kardashian.  The men were among a group of about 15 who traveled back to the United States on February 27 after visiting Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomite Mountains

Surge tents have been set up in front of the Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California just in case there is a potential overflow in coronavirus cases at the hospital

Surge tents have been set up in front of the Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California just in case there is a potential overflow in coronavirus cases at the hospital

Surge tents have been set up in front of the Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California just in case there is a potential overflow in coronavirus cases at the hospital

The surge tents were set up to treat possible influx of coronavirus patients after California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency

The surge tents were set up to treat possible influx of coronavirus patients after California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency

The surge tents were set up to treat possible influx of coronavirus patients after California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?

Like other coronaviruses, including those that cause the common cold and that triggered SARS, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness.  

  • The most common symptoms are: 
  • Fever 
  • Dry cough 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Fatigue 

Although having a runny nose doesn’t rule out coronavirus, it doesn’t thus far appear to be a primary symptom. 

Most people only become mildly ill, but the infection can turn serious and even deadly, especially for those who are older or have underlying health conditions.  

In these cases, patients develop pneumonia, which can cause: 

  • Potentially with yellow, green or bloody mucus
  • Fever, sweating and shaking chills
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Rapid or shallow breathing 
  • Pain when breathing, especially when breathing deeply or coughing 
  • Low appetite, energy and fatigue 
  • Nausea and vomiting (more common in children) 
  • Confusion (more common in elderly people)
  • Some patients have also reported diarrhea and kidney failure has occassionally been a complication. 

Avoid people with these symtpoms. If you develop them, call your health care provider before going to the hospital or doctor, so they and you can prepare to minimize possivle exposure if they suspect you have coronavirus.  

 

Thousands of passengers on Grand Princess cruise ship to remain in their cabins after Coast Guard delivers coronavirus testing kits 

Passengers on the cruise ship off the California coast have been instructed to stay in their cabins as they waited for test results on Friday that could show whether the coronavirus is circulating among the more than 3,500 people aboard. 

The Grand Princess cruise ship was banned from docking at the port in San Francisco until passengers and crew complaining of flu-like symptoms during a 15-day roundtrip cruise to Hawaii could be tested for possible coronavirus infection.  

On Thursday, the US Coast Guard airlifted a batch of diagnostic kits to the ship via helicopter, and public health officials said samples collected would be flown back to a San Francisco Bay Area state laboratory for testing. 

State and local officials acted after learning that 35 people aboard the ship, which is carrying about 3,500 people, had fallen ill, and that two passengers who had traveled on the same vessel for a voyage last month between San Francisco and Mexico later tested positive for coronavirus.

One, an elderly man from Placer County near Sacramento with underlying health conditions, died this week, marking the first documented coronavirus fatality in California. The other, from the Bay area, was described by California Governor Gavin Newsom as gravely sick.

Health officials say both individuals likely contracted the virus while they were aboard the ocean liner.

The Princess cruise line said fewer than 100 passengers and crew from the Hawaii voyage of its Grand Princess have been identified for testing, including those who were ill. 

The predicament of the Grand Princess cruise liner was reminiscent of the Diamond Princess vessel that was quarantined off the coast of Japan in February and was, for a time, the largest concentration of cornoavirus cases outside China. 

Some American passengers from that ship were ultimately repatriated to military bases in California for extended quarantines.  

The Grand Princess cruise ship has been banned from docking in San Francisco until passengers and crew complaining of flu-like symptoms during a 15-day roundtrip cruise to Hawaii could be tested for possible coronavirus infection

The Grand Princess cruise ship has been banned from docking in San Francisco until passengers and crew complaining of flu-like symptoms during a 15-day roundtrip cruise to Hawaii could be tested for possible coronavirus infection

The Grand Princess cruise ship has been banned from docking in San Francisco until passengers and crew complaining of flu-like symptoms during a 15-day roundtrip cruise to Hawaii could be tested for possible coronavirus infection 

On Thursday, the US Coast Guard airlifted a batch of diagnostic kits to the ship via helicopter, and public health officials said samples collected would be flown back to a San Francisco Bay Area state laboratory for testing

On Thursday, the US Coast Guard airlifted a batch of diagnostic kits to the ship via helicopter, and public health officials said samples collected would be flown back to a San Francisco Bay Area state laboratory for testing

On Thursday, the US Coast Guard airlifted a batch of diagnostic kits to the ship via helicopter, and public health officials said samples collected would be flown back to a San Francisco Bay Area state laboratory for testing 

The Grand Princess is currently 400 miles off San Francisco and heading for port having returned from Hawaii after 11 passengers and 10 crew reported symptoms of coronavirus 

New York coronavirus cases jump to 44 – including five people in the city 

The cases in New York state jumped to 44 on Friday, including five in New York City after a woman in her 50s tested positive following a trip to Israel. 

The majority of the cases are in Westchester County and are linked to a 50-year-old Manhattan attorney who infected 29 others including his wife, 20-year-old son, 14-year-old daughter, a neighbor and another family of five. 

Two other cases – a woman in her 80s and man in his 40s – were also announced but are unrelated to the attorney. The two patients are currently in intensive care. Officials have not revealed any other information about their cases. 

There is also now four people on Long Island who have the disease. 

A 39-year-old female healthcare worker who has not been linked to the attorney had earlier tested positive after returning from a trip to Iran. 

The new cases announced on Friday morning include a man in Manhattan, three members of the Young Israel congregation in New Rochelle, two friends of the lawyer, two staff members who live in Rockland County and worked at a bat mitzvah, and three people connected to New York Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital.  

The rabbi of the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue, which the attorney is a member of, is among those who have tested positive. 

The rabbi also teaches at the Yevisha University in Manhattan, which is where the attorney’s son attends classes. The university has urged students to self-isolate as a precaution.  

It comes after health officials urged 1,000 residents to self-quarantine after members of two families linked to the attorney were diagnosed with the virus. 

Two private Manhattan schools – the all-girls Spence School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the all-boys Collegiate School on the Upper West Side – have also now closed for sanitization.

One school in nearby New Jersey – Frisch School – also closed over fears some of its students may have come into contact with an infected Manhattan attorney. 

In New York, health officials put hundreds of residents in self-quarantine after members of two families in the New York City suburb of New Rochelle were diagnosed with the virus. Two more unrelated cases were confirmed in New York City on Thursday, raising New York state's total to 13. A female healthcare worker who is also not linked to the attorney was the first in the state to test positive after returning from a trip to Iran

In New York, health officials put hundreds of residents in self-quarantine after members of two families in the New York City suburb of New Rochelle were diagnosed with the virus. Two more unrelated cases were confirmed in New York City on Thursday, raising New York state's total to 13. A female healthcare worker who is also not linked to the attorney was the first in the state to test positive after returning from a trip to Iran

In New York, health officials put hundreds of residents in self-quarantine after members of two families in the New York City suburb of New Rochelle were diagnosed with the virus. Two more unrelated cases were confirmed in New York City on Thursday, raising New York state’s total to 13. A female healthcare worker who is also not linked to the attorney was the first in the state to test positive after returning from a trip to Iran

Trump’s CDC trip fiasco: President WILL visit its HQ after calling off tour at last minute over fears of positive test for coronavirus as he signs $8.3 billion emergency spending bill amid mounting questions over lack of testing kits 

President Trump will visit the CDC in Atlanta on Friday after initially calling it off because a person at the government facility was being tested for the virus. 

Trump told reporters on Friday that concerns were raised a day earlier about ‘one person who was potentially infected’ who worked at the CDC. 

‘Because of the one person they didn’t want me going,’ he added, explaining why a planned stop at the agency, which is working with state and local officials to help combat the spread of the new virus, was left off his schedule.

Trump said the person has since tested negative for the new virus. 

Soon after, however, the White House confirmed the trip was back on and would take place on Friday afternoon. 

Trump had planned to sign an $8.3 billion coronavirus response funding bill at the CDC but he instead signed it at the White House before his departure to travel to view tornado damage in Tennessee. 

More than $3 billion of the spending bill money is intended for research and development into vaccines, test kits and treatments. There are no so far no approved vaccines or treatments for the illness, which began in China and has spread to some 80 countries and territories.  

President Donald Trump boasted in a tweet on Thursday about the low US fatality count in comparison to the rest of the world

President Donald Trump boasted in a tweet on Thursday about the low US fatality count in comparison to the rest of the world

President Donald Trump boasted in a tweet on Thursday about the low US fatality count in comparison to the rest of the world

Trump had boasted in a tweet on Thursday about the low US fatality count in comparison to the rest of the world.

‘With approximately 100,000 CoronaVirus cases worldwide, and 3,280 deaths, the United States, because of quick action on closing our borders, has, as of now, only 129 cases (40 Americans brought in) and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!’ he tweeted.

He later said during a town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Thursday night that he will continue to shake hands with people despite the coronavirus fears.  

‘I love the people of this country and you cannot be a politician and not shake hands,’ he said. ‘I’ll be shaking hands with people and they want to say hello and hug you and kiss you, I don’t care. You have to do that.’ 

Trump started off his town hall defending his administration’s response to the outbreak and again blamed President Barack Obama for the lack of testing kits.

Trump tried to deflect criticism of his administration’s response to the disease by blaming Obama for a federal regulation that made it harder to enact widespread testing – an accusation that has been shown not to be true. 

Vice President Mike Pence, who visited Washington state on Thursday after being tasked by Trump to lead the coronavirus response, has admitted that the administration won’t be able to fulfill its promise to deliver one million coronavirus testing kits by the end of the week. 

He said there were not enough tests to meet demand going forward.   

President Trump called off a visit to the CDC in Atlanta on Friday because a person at the government facility was being tested for the virus before signing an $8.3 billion coronavirus response funding bill

President Trump called off a visit to the CDC in Atlanta on Friday because a person at the government facility was being tested for the virus before signing an $8.3 billion coronavirus response funding bill

President Trump called off a visit to the CDC in Atlanta on Friday because a person at the government facility was being tested for the virus before signing an $8.3 billion coronavirus response funding bill

Vice President Mike Pence, who visited Washington state on Thursday, admitted that the administration won't be able to fulfill its promise to deliver one million coronavirus testing kits by the end of the week

Vice President Mike Pence, who visited Washington state on Thursday, admitted that the administration won't be able to fulfill its promise to deliver one million coronavirus testing kits by the end of the week

Vice President Mike Pence, who visited Washington state on Thursday, admitted that the administration won’t be able to fulfill its promise to deliver one million coronavirus testing kits by the end of the week

Top coronavirus expert says he CAN’T promise at least one million test kits in next week as CDC comes under fire for lack of testing and delays in approving kits 

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he can’t make any promises about when enough test kits will be made available.

He said the goal within the next two weeks was to have more than a million tests ready but he couldn’t promise that would happen. 

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he can't make any promises about when enough test kits will be made available

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he can't make any promises about when enough test kits will be made available

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he can’t make any promises about when enough test kits will be made available

‘I can’t guarantee that, that’s an issue that would have to go through the FDA and the companies to see if that’s available,’ Dr Fauci told TODAY. 

‘So I cannot promise it but that’s what the goal is – within the next couple of weeks – to get the million plus [out].’ 

He earlier acknowledged missteps by the Trump administration in failing to get coronavirus test kits out quickly, but said the overall response was going well.  

State and local authorities have been stepping up testing for the illness following a debacle with faulty kits from the CDC that officials say initially delayed results.

It is believed one of the chemicals used in the test did not work properly, resulting in the test being recalled and then re-manufactured.  

Another issue was that the CDC initially set narrow criteria on who could be tested. At first, only those with a travel history to China – where the outbreak emerged – or those who had been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus patient were tested. That changed after the first patient of ‘unknown diagnosis’ was confirmed in California, believed to be of so-called community spread.

‘There were certainly some missteps in the beginning regarding getting tests out, some technical issues that slowed down the process,’ Dr Fauci said. 

The CDC and other health officials have come under fire for how slowly Americans are being tested. 

‘I’m not happy about the lack of the appropriate number of test kits – that’s for sure – but other areas of the response, I think, are going well,’ Dr Fauci said. 

He also expressed frustration at the lack of screenings at US airports.  

Concessions vendor at XFL game attended by 22,000 people and Homeland Security employee test positive – as Facebook and Amazon are among those to close offices   

Health officials in Washington state – who are dealing with the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US – have revealed a concessions vendor at an XFL game attended by 22,000 people and a Homeland Security employee are among the latest to test positive for coronavirus in the Seattle area. 

The employee worked at a concessions stand at CenturyLink Field on February 22 during the Seattle Dragons XFL game. Officials said that the risk to the 22,000 people who attended the XFL game last month was ‘low’.  

Health officials in King County, Washington confirmed on Thursday that an employee who worked at the February 22 Seattle Dragons XFL game at CenturyLink Field has now tested positive for the virus.

Homeland Security notified employees on Thursday night that a worker in the Seattle-area had also tested positive for coronavirus. 

The Seattle office, which houses US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and Federal Protective Service, has already been closed since Tuesday with employees ordered to work from home.

An employee there had been suspected of having coronavirus after they reported feeling ill soon after visiting nursing home where the major outbreak has occurred.  

An employee at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters was also confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week, potentially exposing some 50,000 others who work at the plant.  

Apple has advised all employees at its Cupertino headquarters to work from home Friday amid heightened coronavirus concerns a day.  

In a memo seen by DailyMail.com and issued to all 12,000 staff at the Santa Clara Valley offices named Apple Park, employees were told that the precaution was being taken following recent guidance from public health officials.

Staff were advised that offices would remain open but that they were ‘encouraging team members’ to stay away despite only sending the email when many would already be traveling to work.

The company joined Facebook and Microsoft who also introduced new policies to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus this week.

An employee at Facebook’s Stadium East office in Seattle tested positive earlier this week, prompting the company to close it office until at least March 9.  

Mastercard Inc closed its office in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and an annex location near its headquarters in New York after an employee contracted coronavirus. Earlier this week, the Brazil-based employee traveled to the annex office in Purchase, New York. Both locations are now undergoing a sanitization process. 

Health officials in Washington state have revealed a concessions vendor at an XFL game attended by 22,000 people tested positive for coronavirus in the Seattle area

Health officials in Washington state have revealed a concessions vendor at an XFL game attended by 22,000 people tested positive for coronavirus in the Seattle area

Health officials in Washington state have revealed a concessions vendor at an XFL game attended by 22,000 people tested positive for coronavirus in the Seattle area

The employee worked at a concessions stand at CenturyLink Field on February 22 during the Seattle Dragons XFL game. Officials said that the risk to the 22,000 people who attended the XFL game last month was 'low'

The employee worked at a concessions stand at CenturyLink Field on February 22 during the Seattle Dragons XFL game. Officials said that the risk to the 22,000 people who attended the XFL game last month was 'low'

The employee worked at a concessions stand at CenturyLink Field on February 22 during the Seattle Dragons XFL game. Officials said that the risk to the 22,000 people who attended the XFL game last month was ‘low’ 

Washington state health officials buy a $4 million motel and set up a quarantine site made up of ‘mini hotel room’ trailers for infected patients 

Officials in Washington have bought a $4 million motel and set up a coronavirus quarantine site made up of ‘mini hotel room’ trailers as they scramble to deal with the unfolding crisis. 

They bought the EconoLodge motel in suburban Seattle for $4 million earlier this week to be used as a quarantine facility for coronavirus patients. 

Officials have also started setting up trailers in one neighborhood in what will become a temporary quarantine village that initially won’t have water or sewage.  

The two-story, 84-room motel is part of the efforts officials are taking in an epicenter of the outbreak in the US. Its hard surfaces, easy-to-clean floors and separate heating-and-cooling units in each room were exactly what officials were looking for when they started looking for in a quarantine facility.

The doors of each room open to the outside, rather than to a central hallway, reducing the likelihood of contact between the patients. The individual heating-and-cooling units reduce the chance of germs spreading through a ventilation system.  

Residents of King County are also being advised to work from home to avoid possible exposure. Officials in the County, which includes Seattle and is home to over 2.2 million people, have urged local businesses to allow employees to telecommute for the next three weeks in an effort to curb the outbreak. 

They are also recommending that higher-risk groups – including people over the age of 60, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems – stay home and away from large social gatherings. 

Meanwhile, public officials in Washington have come under pressure to take more aggressive steps against the outbreak, including closing schools and canceling large events. While the state and Seattle have declared emergencies, giving leaders broad powers to suspend activities, they have not issued any orders to do so. 

Health officials in Washington state, where they are dealing with the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, have bought a $4 million motel for infected patients

Health officials in Washington state, where they are dealing with the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, have bought a $4 million motel for infected patients

Health officials in Washington state, where they are dealing with the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, have bought a $4 million motel for infected patients

Officials in King County, which is where the majority of Washington cases are, also started setting up trailers in one neighborhood in what will become a temporary quarantine village that initially won't have water or sewage

Officials in King County, which is where the majority of Washington cases are, also started setting up trailers in one neighborhood in what will become a temporary quarantine village that initially won't have water or sewage

Officials in King County, which is where the majority of Washington cases are, also started setting up trailers in one neighborhood in what will become a temporary quarantine village that initially won’t have water or sewage

Everything you need to know about coronavirus

By Natalie Rahhal, Acting US Health Editor for DailyMail.com  

HOW DANGEROUS IS CORONAVIRUS?

About 14 percent of people who contract the Covid-19 coronavirus are taken to hospital – with severe symptoms including breathing problems and pneumonia. About 5 per cent need intensive care.

But the majority who get the virus suffer nothing more than a cough and may never know they are infected.

So far, some 51,000 people around the world have already recovered from coronavirus – and that just includes the numbers who received a diagnosis. 

HOW MANY PEOPLE DIE?

Officially, the death rate so far has been just over three percent. But experts believe the true mortality rate is probably between one and two percent. This is because most mild cases have not been picked up by doctors or reflected in the official numbers – so the death rate is inflated. 

HOW DOES THIS COMPARE WITH OTHER DISEASES?

Seasonal flu kills roughly 0.1 percent of people. So Covid-19 is between 10 and 20 times more fatal.

But it is far less dangerous than SARS – the virus that ripped across China in 2003 – which killed 10 percent of patients.

BUT DOESN’T CORONAVIRUS SPREAD MORE EASILY?

Yes, but not dramatically. The best estimates suggest every person with Covid-19 passes it on to 2.6 people, on average. For flu that number is 1.5. 

CAN IT BE SPREAD WITHOUT SYMPTOMS?

Initially scientists feared carriers who had no symptoms could pass it on. That is now in doubt.

What is likely, however, is those who have mild symptoms are putting it down to a cold and going about their normal lives – which puts others at risk.

HOW LONG IS IT BEFORE SYMPTOMS APPEAR?

Again, unclear. Initially scientists said this could take up to two weeks.

But recent evidence suggests the incubation period could be as long as a month – particularly among children.

The average, however, is much shorter. A Chinese study said the average period of symptom onset was 5.4 days for adults and 6.5 for children. 

WHO IS AT RISK?

The virus can affect anyone – with a study of the first 41 infected people revealing two thirds did not suffer from any pre-existing condition. But the middle-aged are most likely to get it – 78 percent of those infected in China have been aged 30 to 69.

WHAT ABOUT THE OLD?

Only 3 percent of people infected so far have been over 80 – but if they get it they are more vulnerable. Analysis of 72,000 cases in China suggests for over-80s the death rate is 15 percent. For those in their 70s the death rate is 8 percent and for those in their 60s, 4 percent.

WHO ELSE IS VULNERABLE?

Those with other conditions – such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney problems – are likely to suffer severe complications if they become infected.

WHAT ABOUT CHILDREN?

Children seem to be low-risk. Less than 1 percent of the Chinese cases have been under the age of ten – and if children do get the virus it’s often a mild form.

They do, however, retain the virus for longer than adults.

A study last week found the virus was still present in the stools of some children for a month after they contracted it.

DOES GENDER MATTER?

Men are marginally more likely to get the virus than women. It is not clear why this is.

HOW DO DOCTORS TEST FOR COVID-19?

Anyone who has symptoms –particularly if they have travelled to an at-risk area – are told to call ahead to their health care provider, local emergency department or clinics.

This way, health care providers can be prepared, wearing masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment when they meet the possible patient and escort them to isolated areas of the facility.

They are tested using a cheek swab which is sent off for analysis at one of 12 Public Health England labs, a process that takes between 24 and 48 hours. Any positive test is double-checked at the main PHE lab in Colindale.

WHAT TREATMENT DO PATIENTS GET?

There is little doctors can do to tackle the virus, but they can treat the symptoms – such as fever and respiratory problems. Antivirals and antibiotics are also used, mainly to keep secondary problems at bay.

In the most serious cases patients are put on life-support equipment.

There are several clinical trials for potential coronavirus treatments ongoing worldwide, including one in Nebraska, where at least 13 patients are in quarantine, including two in biocontainment units. 

WHAT ABOUT A VACCINE?

Even though the Wuhan virus appeared only a few weeks ago, 20 teams around the world are already manufacturing vaccines.

Chinese authorities provided the DNA code for the virus early on in the outbreak, enabling scientists to get to work straight away.

At least 30 companies and research institutions in the US are racing to make a vaccine.

Last week, one of these companies, Moderna, shipped its candidate vaccine to the US, signalling the shot was ready to begin clinical trials.

Even so, US health authorities say it will likely be upwards of a year before a vaccine is actually ready.

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