Novel Coronavirus in China
As you know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus, also known as "COVID-19," first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and which continues to expand. Chinese health officials have reported tens of thousands of infections with COVID-19 in China, with the virus reportedly spreading from person-to-person in parts of that country. Infections, most of them associated with travel from Wuhan, also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States. The U.S. reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on January 30, 2020. As of yesterday, there were 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States.
For its part, the U.S. State Department has changed its travel advisory level for China to Level 4 – Do Not Travel, stating "Do not travel to China due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. On January 30, the World Health Organization determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Travelers should be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China." While the risks of this virus should not be minimized, it is important to put the numbers reported in the media into their proper context.
While the virus has infected more than 60,000 people and killed over 1,300, with the vast majority of cases in mainland China, annual flu deaths in the U.S. alone topped 34,000 according to the CDC. Further, while State has restricted travel to China, no other regions have been similarly impacted.
Click here to find the most recent travel guidance from the CDC.