Coronavirus pandemic 'almost certain' as cases more than triple in 1 week, expert warns

The coronavirus is "almost certainly going to be a pandemic," Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the HHS' National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said of the disease that has sickened 20,704 and resulted in 427 deaths, The New York Times reports.

Here's what you need to know:

1. Cases jump from 4,400 to 20,000 in 1 week

China confirmed more than 20,000 cases of the coronavirus, a significant jump from the 4,400 cases reported at the same time last week, according to NPR. In China, 2,829 new cases were diagnosed in the past 24 hours alone, officials announced Feb. 3.

2. 427 deaths, 2 reported outside of China

The majority of deaths (425) have occurred in mainland China. The Philippines reported the first fatality outside China over the weekend and Hong Kong confirmed the second Feb. 4.

3. 1st US patient with coronavirus leaves hospital 

The 35-year-old man who became ill after returning from Wuhan, China, was released on or about Feb. 3 from Everett, Wash.-based Providence Regional Medical Center, according to the Herald Net. The patient will remain in isolation at home and is being monitored by the Snohomish (Wash.) Health District and a Providence care team.

4. World is 'dangerously' unprepared for next pandemic, WHO head suggests 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, urged countries to invest in preparedness at an executive board meeting Feb. 3, reports CNBC.

"For too long, the world has operated on a cycle of panic and neglect," Dr. Tedros said, according to a meeting transcript cited by CNBC. "We throw money at an outbreak, and when it's over, we forget about it and do nothing to prevent the next one."

5. CDC defends aggressive action taken amid outbreak 

The CDC Feb. 3 defended its self-proclaimed "aggressive actions" to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including advisories against traveling to China and mandatory quarantines for those arriving from the Hubei province, according to NBC News. The CDC is the only agency with tools to diagnose the virus, and is currently working to provide local health departments with such tools. 

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