CDC Confirms Second US Case of New Coronavirus, Issues Health Alert


The CDC is making strides toward better understanding the pneumonia-like coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that originated in Wuhan, China.

The CDC has announced a second confirmed case of the world's new coronavirus in the United States, this time in Chicago. Officials said the patient, a woman aged in her 60s, is in stable condition, although she remains isolated in the hospital as a precaution.1

On Tuesday, the CDC announced that the first US case was confirmed in Washington State.2

The CDC is making strides toward better understanding the pneumonia-like coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that originated in Wuhan, China, including sequencing the entire genome, and growing the virus in cell culture.2

According to The New York Times, the virus has resulted in 26 deaths, and 830 infections in China, as of January 24.3 Chinese authorities have expanded a travel lockdown in the country to include nearly 35 million residents, banning any public transport in or out of the region.3

Clinical features of those infected included fever in 98% of patients, cough in 76%, and myalgia or fatigue in 44%. Less common symptoms included sputum production (seen in 28% of patients), headache (8%), haemoptysis (5%), and diarrhea (3%). No antiviral treatment has proven to be effective.4

The virus is especially concerning because of its person-to-person spread, which can happen on a continuum, according to the CDC.2 Patients confirmed to have the virus have reportedly experienced mild to severe respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC currently believes that symptoms may appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure, based on the incubation period of previous coronaviruses, such as MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome).4

The CDC has implemented a multi-pronged approach to the Wuhan coronovirus:2

  • The CDC activated its Emergency Response System on January 21 to provide ongoing support for international responses.
  • The travel notice for Wuhan City was raised to Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel. The CDC also issued a Level 1: Practice Usual Precautions notice for the rest of China.
  • The CDC is conducting entry screening of passengers on direct and connecting flights from Wuhan China. Those passengers have been redirected to 1 of 5 airports, including Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York City (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO).
  • The CDC is involved in Washington State’s investigation of the first reported case on US soil, including tracing those who had close contact with the patient.
  • The CDC has developed a real time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction test that can diagnose the virus. In coming days and weeks, the agency said it will share these tests with domestic and international partners.
  • The CDC is also sequencing the entire genome of the virus from the case in Washington State, in addition to growing the virus in cell culture.

While there is currently no vaccine for this new coronavirus, Inovio Pharmaceuticals has been awarded a $9 million grant to develop a vaccine for the virus. The grant, awarded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, will support preclinical and clinical development through Phase 1 human testing of INO-4800.5

The CDC is continuing to recommending everyday preventive actions, including hand washing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and disinfecting touched objects and surfaces.2

This article was updated at 12:23pm, Jan 24, 2020.


  • Second Travel-related Case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Detected in United States [news release]. CDC; Jan 24, 2020. Accessed Jan 24, 2020.
  • 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Wuhan, China. CDC website, updated Jan 23, 2020. Accessed Jan 24, 2020.
  • Coronavirus Live Updates: China’s Travel Limits Now Cover 35 Million People. The New York Times, updated Jan 24, 2020. Accessed Jan 24, 2020.
  • Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, Ren L, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. The Lancet; Jan 24, 2020. Accessed Jan, 2020.
  • 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China: Symptoms. CDC website. Updated Jan 23, 2020. Accessed Jan 24, 2020.
  • Inovio Selected by CEPI to Develop Vaccine Against New Coronavirus [news release]. Plymouth Meeting, PA; Jan 23, 2020. PR Newswire. Accessed Jan 24, 2020.

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