Earlier today Chinese health officials announced another 2,829 new Coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the past 24 hours. The number of cases of Wuhan Coronavirus had officially reached 17,000 which represents a massive leap since last week when China reported a total of only 4,400 cases.
By James DiGeorgia
The respiratory Coronavirus has now killed more than 360 people — all but one of them in China. Nine countries or regions report double-digit cases of the Coronavirus, led by Japan with 20, according to a global dashboard created by the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering.
The fear pummeled China's stock markets today, the first day of trading since the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday. The Shanghai Composite Index nose-dived by nearly 8%. Yet, that 8% decline was only after trading was halted for hundreds of Chinese companies after their share prices dropped by 10%. The nose-dive triggered a mandatory hold on their stocks being traded. The drop in Chinese equities was the biggest in the last four years.
Meanwhile, despite the sharp declines in the Chinese indexes, the U.S. equity markets opened up and rose as much as 1% in the first hour of trading today. Euro Stoxx 50 Index also rose slightly, defying the fear and panic we saw across the world’s financial markets on Friday.
President Trump said during his interview with CBS’s 60 minutes that he has shut down the threat from the Coronavirus. There are currently 11 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus 2019-nCoV virus reported in California, Massachusetts, Arizona, Illinois, and Washington state. The Trump administration has imposed new restrictions on people who want to travel from China to the United States.
NPR's Rob Stein reports yesterday that…
"As of 5 p.m. last night, the federal government started banning anyone traveling from China who isn't a U.S. citizen or an immediate family member of an American from entering the United States."
This new travel policy followed announcements by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines that they would suspend flying routes between the U.S. and mainland China.
NPR's Emily Feng reports...
“Eleven Americans are among 19 foreigners who are sick with the Coronavirus in mainland China,”
She also reports that…
"China's foreign ministry said 14 of the foreigners were still under observation and treatment in China…Two had been cured and discharged. At least 37 airlines have said they are reducing or suspending all flights to and from China as the death toll from the new Coronavirus continues to rise."
The Trump administration's new restrictions on travel to and from China declared on Friday a public health emergency in the U.S. due to the outbreak. The action requires any U.S. citizen who has recently been in Wuhan's Hubei province to spend 14 days in quarantine when they return to the U.S.
That Trump Administration decision was announced after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed 195 Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, under a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a military base in California.
Meanwhile, there have been no Coronavirus fatalities in the United States, but the first death outside of China was reported in the Philippines over the weekend.
Australia has reported 12 confirmed cases of the potentially deadly Coronavirus and is embarking on a controversial plan to send several hundred of its citizens who were evacuated from Wuhan to spend a mandatory 14-days in a quarantine detention center on Christmas Island.
Rachael Bongiorno reports from Melbourne for NPR's Newscast…
"The immigration detention center operated from 2003 until late 2018, and has been the site of numerous cases of abuse and unrest," … It has been a pillar of Australia's increasingly restrictive immigration policies, which aim to deter refugees arriving by boat from seeking asylum."
There are thousands of more cases of the Coronavirus now than there were of SARS during that virus outbreak in 2003. But for now, at least, the death toll from this new form of the Coronavirus is less than half the number of deaths that were reported from SARS (774).
In the United States, health officials are pleading with Americans not to panic and overreact to the Coronavirus. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, said Friday.….
"We do not currently recommend the use of face masks for the general American public…This virus is not spreading in your communities."
To limit the virus, the Trump administration on Friday declared a public health emergency in the U.S. due to the outbreak. The action requires any U.S. citizen who has recently been in Wuhan's Hubei province to spend 14 days in quarantine when they return to the U.S.
That move was announced after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed 195 Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, under mandatory 14-day quarantine at a military base in California. Those passengers had initially been subject only to a three-day holding period.
The United States is drawing China’s wrath for the travel ban and insisting that the Trump administration is causing the panic to worsen. The Chinese government contends businesses are struggling with supply problems from the Coronavirus epidemic that has killed over 300 people.
While the Wuhan respiratory illness has dominated headlines with its fast spread, health experts in the U.S. say that right now, influenza or flu virus poses a higher potential risk to Americans. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said Friday.
"We have an influenza outbreak here…We have about 8,000 deaths already. We have about 100,000 hospitalizations."
Fauci added that U.S. agencies are watching the Coronavirus outbreak closely because while they can be certain flu cases will go away when the seasons change, there are "a lot of unknowns" about the new virus. And he added that evidence of people being infected but not showing symptoms…
"…would make it a much broader outbreak than what we're seeing."