7 things to know about the coronavirus outbreak

The mysterious respiratory infection originating in Wuhan, China, has been classified as a coronavirus, more specifically titled 2019-nCoV.

Everything you need to know: 

1. China had confirmed 18 deaths related to the outbreak, with over 600 sickened. The coronavirus has spread to the U.S., Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Singapore, CBS News reports.

2. "The virus is mainly transmitted through the respiratory tract," Li Bin, deputy director of China's National Health Commission, said at a Jan. 22 news conference. "It may mutate and there is risk of further spread." He said officials are trying to limit large events as the country prepares for the Lunar New Year, when about 400 million Chinese people are expected to travel nationally and globally.

3. The outbreak was initially linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, which was shut down for disinfection Jan. 1. Coronaviruses typically originate in bats but are known for spreading to people and other animals. There is mounting evidence that the virus is spread through human transmission, such as a potential "super-spreader" who infected 14 healthcare workers at a hospital in China, Wired reports. 

4. The CDC confirmed the first U.S. case Jan. 21 — a Washington man in his 30s hospitalized outside of Seattle for pneumonia symptoms. He had recently traveled to Wuhan, but did not visit the seafood market. The man lives alone, officials say, but had close contact with at least 16 people after returning from China Jan. 15, according to The Seattle Times.

5. Travelers from Wuhan will be screened at five U.S. airports, while American hospitals are already altering processes to quickly identify infected patients, The New York Times reports.  

6. Chinese authorities imposed a quarantine of Wuhan's 11 million residents Jan. 23, according to a tweet by People's Daily, China. North Korea closed its borders Jan. 21 in efforts to keep the coronavirus out, The Washington Post reports.

7. WHO officials determined Jan. 23 it was too early to declare a global public health emergency, citing the restrictive and binary nature of the virus.

Click here for John Hopkins' updated coronavirus outbreak tracker.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
NIH working on vaccine for Chinese pneumonia outbreak
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Flu has killed 6,600 Americans, CDC estimates

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