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Coronavirus cases are literally popping up out of nowhere, which is terrifying

Published Feb 27th, 2020 4:03PM EST
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The coronavirus outbreak has sent the world’s health groups into overdrive as they work to prevent the future spread of the virus and manage the cases that have already been confirmed. Tracking each new case as it pops up is important since it helps officials track how the virus spread from its original location.

Now, adding a frightening new wrinkle to the saga, a confirmed coronavirus case out of Northern California is leaving the Centers for Disease Control puzzled, as the individual has no connection to any other infected patients and has not traveled to any regions where they would likely have caught the virus.

As the Sacramento Bee reports, the patient presented with symptoms similar to those of the coronavirus COVID-19, but it wasn’t immediately clear that the individual was indeed infected with the virus. After being questioned, the person did not seem to be at risk of having contracted the virus, as he or she had avoided travel and had no contact with anyone who was known to have the virus.

“The individual is a resident of Solano County and is receiving medical care in Sacramento County,” the California Department of Public Health said in a statement. “The individual had no known exposure to the virus through travel or close contact with a known infected individual.”

Person-to-person transmission of the disease is a known feature of COVID-19, and the first evidence of it taking place in the United States came out of Chicago a number of weeks ago. In that case, a wife is believed to have infected her husband after returning from a trip to China. Both individuals were being isolated and treated, but the case was cut and dry. The woman had obviously been exposed to coronavirus on her trip to China, where the outbreak originated and continues to spread.

Without knowing how the individual in Northern California became infected, it’s impossible for health officials to know how to proceed. Did the person come into contact with an individual who also didn’t know they were infected with the disease? It’s possible, even likely, but at this point, healthcare workers can’t say for certain. The biggest problem is the likelihood that other people are walking around California right now who may have been exposed to coronavirus without knowing it.

China remains the country that has been most widely affected by the virus, but in recent days the number of new cases reported in other countries has begun to outpace those in China for the first time.

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