New US coronavirus case may be 1st from unknown origin

NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials have confirmed a new case of coronavirus infection in California that could be a sign that the virus is spreading in a U.S. community.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the case Wednesday night. It is a person in California who had no known travel to a country where a virus outbreak has been taking place, or connection to a known patient.

The agency did not immediately release additional details.

All of the 60 other cases in the U.S. had traveled from abroad or had been in close contact with those who traveled. Health officials have been on high alert for what they call community spread.

Earlier U.S. cases included 14 in people who traveled back from outbreak areas in China, or their spouses; three people who were evacuated from the central China city of Wuhan; and 42 American passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were evacuated by the federal government to the U.S. from where the ship was docked in Japan.

The outbreak, which began in China, has infected tends of thousands of people in more than three dozen countries, with the vast majority in mainland China.

The new virus is a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. Health officials think it spreads mainly from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can Follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com