Chicago woman infects husband with coronavirus, US issues travel warning

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CHICAGO — A Chicago woman infected with novel coronavirus has infected her husband, health officials confirmed Thursday.

This is the first person-to-person spread of coronavirus in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is also the second confirmed case of coronavirus in Illinois.

The woman, who is in her 60s, recently traveled to Wuhan, China, to take care of her sick father. Her husband did not travel to China.

The woman is currently under quarantine at AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates.

The husband is also hospitalized in stable condition, but health officials did confirm which hospital.

Health officials stressed that there is “no local emergency,” as the risk of contracting coronavirus in Illinois and Chicago remains very low.

Doctors said there are 21 patients in Illinois who are under the close watch of public health officials who are monitoring them for symptoms.

Also Thursday, the U.S. advised against all travel to China after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global emergency. The number of cases spiked more than tenfold in a week, including the highest death toll in a 24-hour period reported Friday.

The State Department’s travel advisory told Americans currently in China to consider departing using commercial means, and requested that all non-essential U.S. government personnel defer travel “in light of the novel coronavirus.”

“Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China,” it said.

China counted 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities. The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. No deaths have been reported outside China.

In the seven days ending at midnight Thursday, the National Health Commission reported 596 cases have been “cured and discharged from hospital.”

The U.N. health agency defines an international emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.

China first informed WHO about cases of the new virus in late December. Eighteen other countries have since reported cases, as scientists race to understand how exactly the virus is spreading and how severe it is.

 

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