Sidestepping sickness: State of Florida avoids coronavirus... for now

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate with the World Health Organization (WHO), federal, state and local public health partners, and clinicians in response to the 2019 nCoV (coronavirus). CDC is closely monitoring the situation, and working around the clock to provide updates. PHOTO/JAMES GATHANY
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate with the World Health Organization (WHO), federal, state and local public health partners, and clinicians in response to the 2019 nCoV (coronavirus). CDC is closely monitoring the situation, and working around the clock to provide updates. PHOTO/JAMES GATHANY
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The Centers for Disease Control on Monday confirmed the 13th case of the latest strain of coronavirus in the United States, but the outbreak has so far missed Florida.

On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health reported that the state has no confirmed cases of the virus that has killed more than 1,000 people in mainland China.

The CDC has nearly 400 people in 37 states “under investigation” for having the virus, which can cause severe acute respiratory illness, septic shock and multi-organ failure.

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been found in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin, according to the agency.

Part of health officials’ response has been investigating all people who have been in contact with those who test positive. The CDC has established stations at several U.S. airports where people traveling to and from China the most.

Orlando International Airport is not one of them. It does not have any direct flights to China, travelers from the area of the outbreak could still come through the airport.

The World Health Organization, WHO, on Tuesday officially named the latest iteration of the coronavirus “COVID-19,” replacing the temporary name “2019-nCoV.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS coronavirus, short for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, which spread in 2013, and SARs, Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, which spread in 2003.

The latest person in the United States diagnosed with the virus was under a federal quarantine order after recently returning from Wuhan, China. The city is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak that has been ongoing since December, according to the CDC.

The first infection in the United States was reported on Jan. 21, and the first person-to-person transmission was reported on Jan. 30, according to the CDC.

The coronavirus has spread to a total of 25 countries, as well as Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

The CDC has recommended that people avoid non-essential to China.

The CDC said the outbreak is rapidly evolving and that the risk assessment can change daily. The global director of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that the disease presents a “very grave threat for the rest of the world” after the death toll in China passed 1,000 on Monday.

At a press conference Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland streamed online, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus encouraged world leaders to come together and battle “a common enemy that does not respect borders or ideologies.”

“With 99 percent of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world,” Ghebreyesus said.

While Florida health officials have released very little about whether anyone in Florida is under investigation for the disease, Florida Sen. Rick Scott has called for more transparency.

The former Republican governor led the state during the Zikka virus outbreak in 2016. A press release his office issued last week includes a letter to President Donald Trump in which Scott wrote: “One of the most effective strategies utilized was being extremely transparent with new and accurate information.