4 new US coronavirus cases; Human testing for drug begins in US

Fifty-seven COVID-19 cases have been reported in the U.S. as of 9 a.m., Feb. 26. This is an increase from 53 cases reported by the CDC Feb. 24. The source of exposure for the new cases is currently unknown.   

Outbreak updates:

1. U.S. residents should expect community spread of the novel coronavirus, a top CDC official warned Feb. 25.   

"It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but when and how many people in this country will have severe illness," said Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 

Click here for other key takeaways from Dr. Messonnier. 

2. Human testing of a drug designed to treat COVID-19 began in the U.S., CNN reports. A clinical trial to assess the antiviral drug remdesivir — which was previously tested in animals for treating MERS and SARS — against coronavirus started at Omaha-based University of Nebraska Medical Center, the NIH said. The first participant is an American evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

3. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped nearly 2,000 points in two days, USA Today reports. Global stocks have also suffered losses amid the outbreak.  

4. President Donald Trump has praised his administration's coronavirus response, criticizing media coverage of the outbreak, according to The Hill. Trump tweeted that MSNBC and CNN are "doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus [sic] look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible." The president said the U.S. is "in great shape" handling the disease. President Trump and top health officials are scheduled to hold a news conference regarding the outbreak Feb. 26.  

5. The mayor of San Francisco declared a local emergency, though the city has not reported any cases, according to NBC Bay Area.

"Although there are still zero confirmed cases in San Francisco residents, the global picture is changing rapidly, and we need to step up preparedness," San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement. The declaration is meant to mobilize city resources and accelerate emergency planning. 

As of 9 a.m., Feb. 26, COVID-19 has sickened 81,191 and resulted in 2,768 deaths. Globally, 30,310 people have recovered from the illness.

More articles on public health:
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Alabama city rejects federal plan to bring in coronavirus patients
More than one-third of parents ignored CDC vaccine schedule, study finds

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