Coronavirus

News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

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FROM THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH:

If you think you might have coronavirus, call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 866-779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov

Updated at 6:52 p.m. ET

The U.S. health care system is trying to be ready for possible outbreaks of the new coronavirus, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned communities this week to prepare for the kind of spread now being seen in Iran, Italy, South Korea and other areas outside the virus' epicenter in China.

The coronavirus outbreak could impact the state's economy - and at least one Tampa Bay area company is already seeing some effects.

Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET

Federal health officials issued a blunt message Tuesday: Americans need to start preparing now for the possibility that more aggressive, disruptive measures might be needed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S.

The strongly worded warning came in response to outbreaks of the virus outside China, including in Iran, Japan, South Korea and Italy, which officials say have raised the likelihood of outbreaks occurring stateside.

Victor Yu is not one of the more than 2,500 people who the Chinese government says were killed by the coronavirus. The 47-year-old resident of Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak, died Feb. 19 from complications related to renal carcinoma, a common type of kidney cancer. But his family believes that his untimely death is likely related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

The coronavirus contagion has spread to Wall Street.

U.S. markets fell sharply Monday amid widening concern that the continuing spread of cases could lead to a global pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled nearly 1032 points, or 3.56% All of the major market indexes were down more than 3%.

Stock markets in Europe and Asia were also down sharply.

"This is not a health pandemic yet, but it's rapidly becoming an economic pandemic," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Governor's Press Office

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday praised state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees for working with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the state’s response to the coronavirus and reiterated that the state has not had any confirmed cases.

Three years ago, NPR accompanied disease ecologist Kevin Olival on a field trip to Malaysian Borneo.

What's it like living with a coronavirus infection, isolated in a biocontainment unit? For Carl Goldman, diagnosed this week in Nebraska, his condition doesn't feel any different from a typical cold, he told NPR's Noel King. But the treatment is unusual: Doctors visit him each day wearing hazmat suits, and hospital staff wave at him from behind double-sealed windows.

As the case count of coronavirus infections continues to rise in China, the number of reported infections among children is remarkably low.

"We're seeing [about] 75,000 total cases at this point, but the literature is only reporting about 100 or so pediatric cases," says Terri Lynn Stillwell, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan.

Flu A Bigger Worry In Florida Than Coronavirus, USF Doctor Tells Lawmakers

Feb 19, 2020
coronavirus computer image.
istock

The flu remains a far deadlier illness to worry about in Florida than the coronavirus, state lawmakers were told on Tuesday.

While the coronavirus that started in China has spawned massive media attention --- and reams of misinformation --- Tampa General Hospital physician and University of South Florida faculty member John Sinnott said the state has more pressing health risks right now.

“Influenza is the elephant in the room no one is talking about,” Sinnott told members of the Senate Health Policy Committee. “It’s killing people.”

Florida’s flagship university is warning its professors to stop requiring students who may be visibly sick to leave class and be tested for the new coronavirus.

The coronavirus is affecting the local economy through important local industries, like tourism. It's also having a severe impact on another industry — commercial fishing.

A Southwest Florida woman and her mother are quarantined in their home after recently traveling from China.

Emily Glazier is a first-year English professor at the University of South China in Hunan Province, located a few hours south of the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Glazier shares her story of traveling to the U.S. from China with WGCU’s Andrea Perdomo from her home in Bonita Springs.


Another U.S. case of infection with the novel coronavirus was confirmed Thursday, bringing the total number of domestic cases to 15. Around the world, cases have reached nearly 60,000 to date.

But if something changes and large numbers of people get infected in the U.S., is the country's health system prepared to cope with a surge of patients with this virus, or any future pathogen?

The Diamond Princess cruise ship is currently quarantined in Japan because of 175 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the infectious disease the World Health Organization is calling COVID-19, raising questions about the future of the cruise industry.

The question is important for Tampa, a port for six cruises lines and over one million passengers annually.

Updated at 9:51 a.m. ET

The Diamond Princess cruise ship has become a symbol of a global health nightmare. To date, 175 cases of the coronavirus — the infectious disease the World Health Organization is now calling COVID-19 — have been confirmed aboard the ship.

Like Ebola virus in Africa and the Nipah virus in Asia, the new coronavirus — 2019-nCoV — appears to have originated in bats.

Chinese researchers took samples of the coronavirus from patients in Wuhan, the city in central China where the outbreak was first detected.

They compared the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus — 2019-nCoV — to a library of known viruses and found a 96% match with a coronavirus found in horseshoe bats in southwest China. The findings were published in a study in Nature this week.

Chunlin Leonhard is grateful to be back in the United States, even though she's now living under the first federally mandated quarantine in 50 years. "The primary feeling is a sense of relief that I'm back in the States," she says. "I'm just tired and glad and grateful."

A potential case of coronavirus disrupted emergency operations at a Hollywood hospital on Friday, but nearly a week later, the Florida health department won’t confirm even that a person was tested.

The incident appeared significant: hospital workers told at least one fire-rescue department not to bring anyone to Memorial Regional Hospital’s emergency room, and another department was told to wear masks.

Public health officials attempting to contain the new coronavirus are trying to figure out how easily it spreads. One key question is whether people who are infected but show no symptoms can infect other people.

"If you have a lot of people who [have mild disease or are] asymptomatic and not seeking medical care for respiratory illness but are still contagious, you're going to have a very difficult time," says Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University.

The new strain of coronavirus that has killed hundreds of people in China and caused a travel lockdown of some 56 million people has been classified as a "zoonosis" because of the way it spreads from animals to humans.

Concerns over Coronavirus and low demand have contributed to plummeting gas prices across Tampa Bay.

In an era of online shopping and global shipping, some NPR listeners have written to us with this question: Am I at risk of catching the new coronavirus from a package I receive from China?

Almost certainly no, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures," the CDC concludes in its Q&A.

China has reported a large surge of cases of the novel coronavirus — upping its count from under 3,000 to over 4,500 as of Tuesday morning. More than 100 deaths have been reported. It is spreading rapidly in many provinces, and sporadic cases have now been reported in 18 other locations outside of China, including Australia, France and Canada.

Coronavirus Has Not Been Found In Florida

Jan 28, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

The coronavirus has not been found in any people who have traveled to Florida recently from the area of China where an outbreak of the respiratory illness began, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday. 

When the first U.S. case of a new coronavirus spreading throughout China was confirmed last week in Washington state, public health workers were well prepared to respond, building on lessons learned during the outbreak of measles that sickened 87 people in the state in 2019.

A fifth U.S. case of coronavirus has been confirmed, this one in Arizona's Maricopa County. A statement released on Sunday from the Arizona Department of Health Services described the patient as "a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing."

Updated Feb. 19, 11:00 a.m. ET

A new disease first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and now called COVID-19, continues to spread, primarily in China but cases have also appeared in some two dozen other countries.

Here's what we know so far about this virus, as reported by NPR's daily science podcast Short Wave.

What kind of disease is this?

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

Wuhan's public health authorities say they are in a "state of war" as they quarantine the Chinese city in an attempt to halt the spread of a never-before-seen strain of coronavirus.

"Strictly implement emergency response requirements, enter into a state of war and implement wartime measures to resolutely curb the spread of this epidemic," urged a committee of Wuhan's top officials. "Homes must be segregated, neighbors must be watched."

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