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Coronavirus Update: Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Evacuees and China Report

Officially, the CDC reports the national number of “Persons Under Investigation” for the novel coronavirus is still 15. However, 300 Americans were just flown back to the United States on U.S. government-chartered planes after they were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantine in Japan. Of those 300 passengers, 14 tested positive for the virus also known as COVID-19. You may be wondering why that didn’t nearly double the CDC’s count to 29. Well, the CDC considers these patients “presumptive-positive” cases and therefore has yet to confirm infection until they conduct their own investigation. The evacuees were tested in Japan 2-3 days before boarding the flights home to the U.S. So, the CDC is running their own tests to confirm infection. This isn’t to say the testing done in Japan was inaccurate or done incorrectly, but rather the CDC has its own protocol to follow. 

All Passengers Quarantined

Despite almost two weeks of quarantine on the ship, all 300 passengers will be quarantined here in the U.S. for another two weeks. Everyone was taken to military bases for the remainder of their confinement. The 14 passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 were isolated from the other 286 passengers who tested negative for the virus on the flight home. And, while treated at the military bases they will continue to stay in isolation.

China’s Published Results

A paper was recently published with more details on the confirmed cases of this coronavirus. This is extremely useful to help the rest of the world get a clearer understanding of how COVID-19 is affecting humans. The good news is that the majority of people who get the virus come down with a mild respiratory infection and then recover. COVID-19 also doees not appear to be as deadly as other forms of the coronavirus, most notably SARS and MERS. So, hopefully, the number of cases in China will continue to decline and we will find the epidemic levels of infection behind us. Of the 44,000 confirmed cases reviewed in the paper from China, here is the breakdown of infection (there is some overlap with fatal cases):

  • 80% – mild form of respiratory illness
  • 14% – severe illness including pneumonia and shortness of breath
  • 5% – critical illness including respiratory failure, multi-organ failure, septic shock
  • 2% – cases reported as fatal

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