The first case of a person contracting the new coronavirus from another person in the United States was confirmed on Jan. 30.
The patient, who has not traveled to China, is a Chicago resident and is the spouse of the first confirmed travel-related case in Illinois. That patient was a woman in her 60s who returned from Wuhan on Jan. 13.
Both patients are isolated and are in stable condition.
The first patient is isolated at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Officials declined to say where the second patient is being treated.
“This person-to-person spread was between two very close contacts, a wife and husband,” Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, told reporters on a phone call. “The virus is not spreading widely across the community.”
Authorities are not recommending that people take precautions such as canceling activities or not going out.
“It’s important to note that this spread was among two people who were in close contact for an extended period of time,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Messonnier said health officials expect to see more cases in the United States, which will raise the risk of the virus passing among people.
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that questions remain about the virus, telling reporters, “At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.”
People who recently returned to the United States from China should call their health care provider if they develop symptoms, officials said. On Jan. 30, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said the Trump administration isn’t imposing any travel restrictions.
The new Illinois case is the sixth in the United States and the first new case announced in four days. Five patients had tested positive across four states: California, Washington, Arizona, and Illinois.
The new virus has spread to about 20 countries, hitting the Americas, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Three new countries reported their first confirmed cases in the past 24 hours—Finland, the Philippines, and India.
The briefing came a day after President Donald Trump formed a coronavirus task force headed by Azar. Redfield is on the task force.
The task force will lead the Trump administration’s efforts to “monitor, contain, and mitigate the spread of the virus” and give Americans accurate and up-to-date health and travel information, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. The group has been meeting daily since Jan. 27.
On Jan. 30, Japan’s health ministry also confirmed a human-to-human transmission case of the virus. According to Nippon.com, a driver of a bus in Japan that carried 60 tourists from Wuhan and a guide on the same bus were infected with the virus.
“The virus has not become widespread at the moment,” Japan’s ministry said, adding that the government suggested people wear masks and take other precautions to avoid the virus.
Meanwhile, Germany on Jan. 28 confirmed its first human-to-human transmission of the virus, involving a Chinese colleague who had visited the country. It was the first instance of a human-to-human transmission case reported on European soil, according to Al Jazeera.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) questioned on Jan. 29 why there were still so many planes from China landing in the United States. He noted that the person-to-person transmission cases of the virus have spread to a number of countries globally.
“China, but also Germany, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan: all countries with person-to-person transmission of coronavirus,” Cotton said in a Twitter post. “Meanwhile flights from China are landing in the US every hour. This has to stop.”