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United States military escorts hundreds of Americans from China as coronavirus fears spread

Published Jan 29th, 2020 10:22AM EST
Image: WALLACE WOON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

As the deadly coronavirus continues to spread across parts of China, foreigners traveling through the area are doing their best to get out. As was reported yesterday, around 1,000 Americans in the Wuhan region were desperately waiting for the US government to arrange transport for them so they could make it safely back home.

Now, as CNN reports, around 200 of those eager American passengers were aboard a chartered flight heading from China to a military base in Southern California. The passengers will be screened and monitored for symptoms in an effort to ensure no virus cases fly under the radar before the passengers are allowed to return to their daily lives.

As CNN reports, the flight departed from Wuhan, which is where the current coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated. Health officials narrowed down the source to a seafood market, though they are unsure what animal was responsible for the initial infection(s).

At first, the virus seemed to be limited to animal-to-human transmission, which would have made it much easier to control. Unfortunately, weeks after its original discovery, scientists in China confirmed that the virus was indeed capable of jumping between humans. Even more frightening, the virus can spread even when a person isn’t showing symptoms, making it very difficult to screen for, as even seemingly healthy people could be carrying and spreading the virus.

As of the latest estimates, a total of 132 people have died as a result of the outbreak, and at least 6,000 in China are confirmed to be infected. The virus has already spread to neighboring countries and even to the United States, where a handful of confirmed cases have been recorded.

Doctors continue to work on a vaccine, while health officials are instituting ever more drastic lockdowns in areas where the virus has a risk of spreading through a larger population.

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