Coronavirus Outbreak News: 17 dead, 500 infected, 3 Chinese cities in lockdown

Virus may have originated in snakes, say researchers

Here is some of the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak:

Source of the new coronavirus? 

  • Numerous reports say that more than 500 people have been infected and that 17 people have died from infections with Wuhan corona virus, which has been named 2019-nCoV.  
  • Two more large Chinese cities, Huanggang and Ezhou, have been isolated by the Chinese government in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, according to a Wall Street Journal report this morning. The government has shut down travel to and from those cities and had acted earlier to isolate Wuhan, a city of 11 million where the outbreak originated. 
  • The Washington State man who is the first confirmed American case had close contact with at least 16 people after returning from China on Jan. 15, according to local officials, the Seattle Times reported yesterday. Health officials have the praised the man for seeking treatment early, which had the effect of limited his contacts and likely curbed transmission.The Seattle newspaper reported that the man, who is in his 30s, has been hospitalized at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington, since Sunday, and is being monitored in a special isolation unit.
  • Coronaviruses have been given that name because they are shaped like a crown or solar corona. SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) are caused by coronaviruses. The Conversation posted an article by Haitao Gao and Shou-Jiang Gao of the University of Pittsburgh and Guangxiang Luo of the University of Alabama-Birmingham yesterday afternoon that suggested 2019-nCoV may have come from snakes, specifically the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra.