C.D.C. Confirms First Possible Community Transmission of Coronavirus in U.S.

C.D.C. Confirms First Possible Community Transmission of Coronavirus in U.S.

A person in California who was not exposed to anyone known to be infected with the coronavirus, and had not traveled to countries in which the virus is circulating, has tested positive for the infection.

It may be the first case of community spread in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

“At this point, the patient’s exposure is unknown,” the C.D.C. statement said. “The case was detected through the U.S. public health system and picked up by astute clinicians.”

The case was announced shortly after President Trump concluded a news briefing in which he said that aggressive public health containment measures and travel entry restrictions had successfully limited the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

[Like the Science Times page on Facebook. | Sign up for the Science Times newsletter.]

It brings the number of cases in the country to 60, including the 45 cases among Americans who were repatriated from Wuhan, China — the epicenter of the outbreak — and the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was overwhelmed by the virus after it docked in Japan.

The Coronavirus Outbreak

  • Answers to your most common questions:

    Updated Feb. 26, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The C.D.C. has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all non-essential travel to South Korea and China.
    • Where has the virus spread?
      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      The World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world is not ready for a major outbreak.