February 13 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Jack Guy, CNN

Updated 9:43 PM ET, Thu February 13, 2020
63 Posts
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6:01 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Coronavirus patient in Texas is being treated at a hospital in San Antonio

From CNN's Michael Nedelman

Google Earth
Google Earth

The 15th confirmed coronavirus case in the US is being treated at Methodist Texsan Hospital in San Antonio, according to a statement today from Dr. Paul Hancock, chief medical officer at Methodist Healthcare.

The patient, the most recent person in the US confirmed to have the virus, "was an evacuee from China in quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base and was found to have a fever,” Hancock said. 

They arrived in the US on a State Department-chartered flight on Feb. 7, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Hancock said the patient is currently “stable with mild symptoms.” He added that the hospital activated “additional protocols” before the patient arrived, under the guidance of the CDC.

The patient was "privately escorted through a secluded entrance to avoid common areas” and kept under isolation, he said. Hancock did not offer any other details about the patient, citing patient privacy.

By the numbers: The 15 confirmed cases in the US include eight in California, one in Texas, one in Massachusetts, one in Washington state, one in Arizona, two in Illinois and one in Wisconsin.

There are two instances of person-to-person transmission, one in Illinois and one in California. Two California cases and the Texas case are among evacuees from China.

6:13 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

The number of coronavirus cases on board Diamond Princess cruise ship rises

A passenger is seen on a balconies of the Diamond Princess cruise ship at the Daikaku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port onThursday, February 13.
A passenger is seen on a balconies of the Diamond Princess cruise ship at the Daikaku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port onThursday, February 13. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Another 44 cases of coronavirus were confirmed Thursday on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docket in Yokohama, Japan, according to CNN's Will Ripley.

Ripley spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper Thursday afternoon about the ship and how people are coping. The ship currently has 219 people on board who have the virus, Ripley said.

"What's most disturbing about that number is that they've tested fewer than 500 of the more than 3,500 people on the ship," Ripley said on Anderson Cooper Full Circle.

According to the Japanese government, the reason why everyone hasn't been tested is because there are a limited number of testing kits and a limited way to test them, Ripley said.

Ripley described the scene on the Diamond Princess, where passengers haven't had their rooms cleaned since the ship docked. He's heard of parents telling children that they must remain in their room because of "this invisible monster called the coronavirus that's outside."

"[Families] are inside their cabins, they are waiting for the crew to deliver Crayons and arts and crafts supplies. They use their bunk beds as trampolines. They are trying to do anything they can to keep the kids happy and occupied," Ripley said.

The first deadly case in Japan: Japan recorded its first death from the coronavirus, a woman in her 80s who was not on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

5:41 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Anderson Cooper talks about the coronavirus outbreak live

CNN's Will Ripley will join Anderson Cooper as coronavirus fears leave passengers stuck on ship in the region.

Refresh this page to watch Anderson Cooper Full Circle live in the video player above.

3:58 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

California coronavirus patients are in "very good" and "fair" condition, doctor says

UCSD Health Center’s Dr Randy Taplitz
UCSD Health Center’s Dr Randy Taplitz KSWB

One coronavirus patient is in “very good condition and the other is in fair condition,” said UC San Diego Health Center’s Dr. Randy Taplitz at a news conference this morning.

A third is a “person under investigation,” she said.

The patients are part of a group quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Earlier in the week, a woman with the novel coronavirus was sent back to Miramar instead of hospital isolation. Taplitz said she is confident the error will not happen again and attributes the problem to communication issues.

“Our testing, we sent directly to the CDC and I have no concerns about the accuracy of those tests,” she continued.

She underscored that masks are not necessary for the general public because this virus is spread by large droplet not airborne spread.

“So really the masks are not going to help you when you’re walking down the street,” she Taplitz said.

2:43 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Weeks into the coronavirus outbreak, CDC still not invited to China

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

 CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield CNN

Nearly six weeks after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first offered to help China with its coronavirus outbreak, the offer still has not been accepted, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus was first identified in early January.

“There’s a lot of information we don’t know — that’s why I offered to provide assistance, direct assistance, and send our CDC folks over there back on January 6 to really help them gather that information and also to help us see the information first hand that we need to help make the right public health recommendations for our nation,” Redfield told CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an interview on Thursday.

He added: “That letter has not been responded to yet by the official Chinese government. We do believe that we’re the best in the world in this space and we’re ready to help and assist them, but they’re an independent nation that has to make that decision that they’re going to invite us in.”

2:14 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

Novel coronavirus can be spread by people who aren’t exhibiting symptoms, CDC director says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Asymptomatic transmission of the novel coronavirus is possible, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN.

In other words, Redfield said that an infected person not showing symptoms could still transmit the virus to someone else based on information from his colleagues in China.

“There’s been good communication with our colleagues to confirm asymptomatic infection, to confirm asymptomatic transmission, to be able to get a better handle on the clinical spectrum of illness in China. What we don’t know though is how much of the asymptomatic cases are driving transmission,” he told CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an interview on Thursday. 

Redfield continued: “What I’ve learned in the last two weeks is that the spectrum of this illness is much broader than was originally presented. There’s much more asymptomatic illness. A number of the confirmed cases that we confirmed actually just presented with a little sore throat.”

 

1:58 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

US health expert expects coronavirus to be around "beyond this season, beyond this year"

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks during a press conference on Friday, February 7, in Washington, DC.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks during a press conference on Friday, February 7, in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus may impact the world for some time to come, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an interview today.

“This virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission,” Redfield said. “You can start to think of it in the sense like seasonal flu.”

While more research is needed to fully understand the virus, Redfield said that the CDC has focused on surveillance to track cases and containment to slow down the possible progression of the virus in the United States.

“I do think that eventually we are going to be in more of a mitigation phase in dealing with this virus but that’s not to underestimate the importance of the containment phase that we’re in right now,” Redfield said. 

“The containment phase is really to give us more time. This virus will become a community virus at some point in time, this year or next year,” Redfield said. “We don’t have any evidence that this coronavirus is really embedded in the community at this time, but with that said, we want to intensify our surveillance so that we’re basing those conclusions based on data.”

1:59 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

The way China counts coronavirus cases does not apply to the rest of the world, health officials say

From CNN Jacqueline Howard

World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program head Michael Ryan attends a combined news conference following a two-day international conference on COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine research and a meeting to decide whether Ebola in DR Congo still constitutes health emergency of international concern on Wednesday, January 12, in Geneva.
World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program head Michael Ryan attends a combined news conference following a two-day international conference on COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine research and a meeting to decide whether Ebola in DR Congo still constitutes health emergency of international concern on Wednesday, January 12, in Geneva. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The changes made to the way China defines and counts coronavirus cases in Hubei province do not apply to cases being tracked in the rest of the world, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, said during a press conference today. 

"In the rest of China and the rest of the world, laboratory confirmation for reporting is still required and WHO will continue to track both laboratory and clinically confirmed cases in Hubei province,” Ryan said.

What this is about: Chinese officials recently changed their tally of cases in Hubei to include “clinically diagnosed cases” in addition to those confirmed by a laboratory test. 

Due to that change in case definition, numbers of cases being reported out of China have fluctuated dramatically, rising up to almost 60,000 yesterday.

The change in the counting system has partially caused a spike in the number of cases.

Here's how Ryan explained the change:

“In other words, in Hubei province only, a trained medical professional can now classify a suspected case of COVID-19 as a clinically confirmed case on the basis of chest imaging, rather than having to have a laboratory confirmation,” he said. "This allows clinicians to move and report cases more quickly, without having to wait for lab confirmation, assuring that people get to clinical care more quickly and also allows public health responses in terms of contact tracing and other important public health measures to be initiated.”
1:07 p.m. ET, February 13, 2020

A Taiwanese student says her London Airbnb canceled on her over coronavirus fears. She hasn't been to China in years.

From CNN's Lauren Kent

Louise Hsin-Yuan Peng
Louise Hsin-Yuan Peng

A Taiwanese PhD student said she feels discriminated against after London Airbnb hosts canceled her booking at the last minute, citing fears about coronavirus. 

Yale University student Louise Hsin-Yuan Peng, who traveled from Taiwan to London earlier this month to conduct research for three months, received a cancellation message from the hosts of her long-term booking that said they were concerned about the virus outbreak and had to “err on the side of caution.”

She received the cancellation message when she was about to arrive, after already messaging the hosts when she landed at the airport in London and taking a train to the city center.

“I was really shocked,” Hsin-Yuan told CNN. “I certainly think it was xenophobic because you’re just scared of me without knowing anything about me.”

The 31-year-old student has not traveled near virus-affected areas and has not been to mainland China in years.

“I understand that people are probably freaking out because of the outbreak," she said. "But I feel that they should have asked about my travel history and what I do or if I had interactions with people coming from the affected area.” 

There have been 18 cases of novel coronavirus diagnosed in Taiwan and eight cases in the UK as of this morning.  

Hsin-Yuan said that following the last-minute cancellation, she reached out to a friend who let her sleep on the floor that night. She then paid for a hotel for two nights while she tried to find long-term accommodation and contacted other friends who might host her. 

She told CNN she called Airbnb’s customer service to report possible discrimination, and after speaking with multiple representatives from the company, Airbnb offered to reimburse her for the cancellation, the hotel nights and an Uber ride. She said she only asked for the bare minimum, but Airbnb also offered her a $500 voucher for future stays.  

"We take cancellation issues seriously and rigorously enforce a non discrimination policy," an Airbnb spokesperson said.

Airbnb said in this case, it “educated the host” on the proper cancellation policies regarding coronavirus. That policy makes no mention of Taiwan but says extenuating circumstances apply for reservations with guests traveling from mainland China.