Officials: American public at low risk of catching coronavirus

Officials: American public at low risk of catching coronavirus

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Wuhan, the city in China where the coronavirus is believed to have originated, has temporarily closed its airports and railway stations for departing passengers.

Coronavirus has made hundreds sick and killed more than a dozen, and there's now one confirmed case in the U.S. There's a lot we don't know about this disease.

Local officials say they still believe the American public is not at a high risk for catching this virus. But it's important to be informed and aware about efforts being made around the world to contain it.

Wauwatosa-based Dr. Lucy Yu is traveling to Beijing, China, 700 miles from Wuhan, this weekend and says she isn't worried. But she will be taking precautions like wearing a mask and carrying hand sanitizer. 

"Chinese government takes very serious actions to prevent," she said. "So they are very monitored. If they suspect or diagnose this virus, they isolate them."

The coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan, China last month, and since then has killed 17 people and sickened hundreds.

Symptoms are similar to the common cold and can include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, possibly a headache and maybe a fever, which can last for a couple days. 

The City of Milwaukee Health Department says there is still a lot to learn about this virus, however based on on current information, the CDC has deemed this to be low risk to the American public. 

State officials are following this guidance from the CDC on what to keep a lookout for. 

A number of airports are now screening for the virus, including Chicago's O'Hare airport.

The World Health Organization held an emergency press conference Wednesday, announcing they're not ready to declare it a global health emergency because they still need more information. 

"Our recommendation is to ensure that individuals can be identified and isolate quickly, tested quickly, cared for and managed so that they can prevent any further transmission," said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organization.

The big takeaway is that this primarily impacts anyone that has traveled to or been in close proximity to someone that was recently in Wuhan, China, and since there are no direct flights there from Wisconsin, that lowers the odds.

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