Coronavirus live updates: COVID-19 is deadlier than the flu, WHO says

(NEW YORK) — Countries around the world are scrambling to stymie the spread of a deadly viral outbreak that began in China about two months ago and has now infected more than 90,000 people globally.

Today’s biggest developments:

New Hampshire’s 1st patient told to stay isolated but went to event instead, officials say.
First confirmed case at EU office.
Outbreak in South Korea shows little signs of slowing down.
COVID-19 is deadlier than the flu, WHO says.
New presumptive positive case reported in Northern California.
U.S. death toll at 9.

Here’s the latest on the developing situation. All times are Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

8:19 a.m. New Hampshire’s 1st patient told to stay isolated but went to event instead, officials say

The first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in New Hampshire is a hospital employee who went to an event, despite being told to stay isolated, officials said.

Through the course of an investigation, officials at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services learned that the patient had attended an invitation-only private event last Friday after being told to self-isolate. The department has issued an official order of isolation to the patient and is contacting attendees who had close contact with the individual during the event to notify them to follow the recommended 14-day self-isolation, according to a press release on Tuesday.

Now, there’s a second presumptive positive case involving a person who was in close contact with the state’s first patient. The second individual is a man from Grafton County who is currently isolated at home, and state officials have begun tracing his contacts. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is awaiting confirmation of two presumptive positive test results by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We expect additional cases may be identified that are related to this investigation,” officials said in the press release.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, confirmed that the state’s first patient is an employee.

7:48 a.m. 1st confirmed case at EU office

The first case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed at a European Union office in Brussels, a spokesperson told ABC News.

The case is a male employee who works at the European Defense Agency and had recently traveled to Italy, where 2,236 people have been infected with the newly identified virus. The man tested positive Tuesday, according to EU press officer Claire Joawn.

6:50 a.m. Outbreak in South Korea shows little signs of slowing down

The South Korean city of Daegu reported another spike in new cases of the novel coronavirus overnight as the outbreak shows little signs of slowing down there.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded an additional 516 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total to 5,328. Over 400 of the newly confirmed cases were in Daegu, where a secretive religious sect has been linked to a majority of the country’s infections.

South Korea has the second-highest national total of confirmed cases, behind China.

5:45 a.m. COVID-19 is deadlier than the flu, WHO says

The disease caused by the novel coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, is more than three times as deadly than the season flu, according to the head of the World Health Organization.

“Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference in Geneva Tuesday. “By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.”

Although the newly identified virus does not spread as easily as the flu, it causes more severe illness and there are currently no vaccines or therapeutics.

“While many people globally have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity,” Tedros said. “That means more people are susceptible to infection, and some will suffer severe disease.”

3:30 a.m. New presumptive positive case reported in Northern California

Public health officials in Northern California’s Placer County have reported a second case of the novel coronavirus after a hospitalized patient tested “presumptively positive,” pending confirmation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a press release issued late Tuesday night, Placer County Public Health said the patient is an older adult whose exposure to the newly identified virus, known officially as COVID-19, likely occurred during their time on a Princess Cruises ship that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico last month. It’s the same cruise associated with a confirmed case announced previously in Sonoma County.

“As the case appears connected to travel, it most likely does not represent an instance of local community spread,” Placer County Public Health said in the press release.

The Placer County patient is critically ill and in isolation at a local hospital. Close contacts of the individual are being quarantined and monitored.

The county has declared a local health emergency as well as a local emergency.

“We expect to see additional cases in coming days, including cases of community spread, not linked to travel,” said Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “We are declaring these emergencies today so we will be able to activate and deploy resources to adequately respond to an increase in cases.”

As of Tuesday, the CDC counted 108 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the United States. That number includes 60 Americans whose cases were confirmed by the local U.S. health systems, 45 who were repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan and three who were repatriated from Wuhan, China, where the virus emerged back in December.

So far, nine people sickened with the virus in the United States have died.

More than 80,000 people have been infected with the virus in China, mostly in central Hubei province, which includes Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and nearly 3,000 of them have died. Meanwhile, over 10,000 have tested positive for the virus in 72 other nations and 166 have died, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization, which has declared the outbreak a global health emergency.

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