A Maricopa County, Arizona, resident is the fifth confirmed coronavirus case in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Sunday.
The development comes after the federal public health agency said a fourth case was confirmed in Orange County, California. Other cases have been confirmed in Orange County, California, Washington state, and Chicago.
The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. It is a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the deadly SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.
Dozens of people have died from the virus in China, which has issued massive travel bans in hard-hit sections of that country to try to stem spread of the virus. The U.S. consulate in Wuhan announced Sunday that it would evacuate its personnel and some private citizens aboard a charter flight.
The CDC expects more Americans to be diagnosed with the newly discovered virus, which is believed to have an incubation period of about two weeks, as worldwide the number of confirmed cases nears 2,000. The CDC is screening passengers on direct and connecting flights from Wuhan at five major airports in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Guidance from the CDC advises that people who have had casual contact with the patient are at “minimal risk” for developing infection.
“CDC believes the immediate risk to the U.S. public is low at this time, but the situation is evolving rapidly,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters Friday. “We have our best people working on this problem.”
Earlier this week, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) urged the Trump administration to consider a travel ban on visitors from China as public health concerns grow.
“Once again, a deadly virus is emanating from the People’s Republic of China. The Wuhan coronavirus has infected hundreds of people in China, killing at least seventeen individuals so far. The disease has now spread to Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, and South Korea,” Cotton wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, which was obtained exclusively by Breitbart News. “At least one case has been confirmed in the United States. I’m confident that the United States Government is undertaking all possible measures to contain the spread of the disease, but I’m deeply concerned that waging an efficient and successful campaign against this virus depends on the trustworthiness and transparency of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), an organization with a horrendous history in these matters.”
“I urge the Department of Health and Human Services to carefully vet any information being passed from its contacts in Beijing. If you have reason to believe that U.S. officials are being provided with false or misleading information about the disease from Chinese government officials, I ask that you notify Congress immediately,” the senator added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.