Coronavirus Information Center


This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP

Updated: February 13 1:30 p.m.

This is an updated blog of our stories on the coronavirus. The World Health Organization announced January 30 that the outbreak of a deadly and fast-spreading strain of coronavirus constitutes a global health emergency. The pneumonia-like illness has killed dozens in China. Several cases have been reported in the United States, including Chicago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the coronavirus poses a low risk to the general population of the US. There are no cases in Champaign County.

Some resources if you need answers:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Illinois Department of Health

McKinley Health Center

From NPR: Your Questions About Wuhan Coronavirus, Answered

Virus Cases Surge After China Revises Way Count Is Tallied

February 13 1:23 p.m. - China is reporting 254 new deaths and a spike in virus cases of more than 15,000, after its hardest-hit province applied a new system that broadens the scope of diagnoses for the outbreak, which has spread to more than two dozen countries. The new way of tallying has frustrated some who are struggling to grasp the trajectory of the epidemic. The total deaths in mainland China now are more than 1,300, with confirmed cases exceeding 59,000. That number includes patients diagnosed with a doctors' analysis combined with lung imaging, as opposed to waiting for laboratory test results. The hardest-hit Chinese province has also replaced its top officials in an apparent response to public criticism of local authorities' handling of the epidemic. - Associated Press

US Announces 15th Virus Case, This One In Texas Evacuee

February 13 11:00 a.m. - U.S. officials have announced the country's 15th confirmed case of the new coronavirus — an evacuee from China who had been under quarantine in Texas. The patient had been flown to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio last week. The person is now in isolation at a hospital and is reported in stable condition. The infection was confirmed through a Wednesday night lab test. Two earlier U.S. cases were found among evacuees flown to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in Southern California. Tens of thousands of cases of the illness have been reported globally. The vast majority of them are in China. - Associated Press

Illinois To Conduct In-State Testing For 2019 Novel Coronavirus

February 11 - State public health officials say Illinois has become the first to conduct in-state testing for the 2019 novel coronavirus.  Testing is currently available through the IDPH lab in Chicago and will eventually also come online in labs in Springfield and Carbondale. Of the 13 confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus, two have been in Illinois. The CDC maintains that the immediate risk to the general public is low. Click here for the entire story. - Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom

China's New Virus Cases Fall Again, Deaths Now Exceed 1,100

February 11 8:54 p.m. - China has reported another drop in the number of new cases of a viral infection and 97 more deaths, pushing the total dead past 1,100 even as the country remains largely closed down to prevent the spread of the disease. The National Health Commission said 2,015 new cases had been reported over the last 24 hours, declining for a second day. The total number of cases is around 45,000 globally. The 97 additional deaths from the virus raised the mainland toll to 1,113. Despite the official end o the extended Lunar New Year holiday, China remained mostly closed for business as many remained at home. - Associated Press

China's Daily Death Toll From Virus Tops 100 For First Time

February 10 8:56 p.m. - China's daily death toll from a new virus topped 100 for the first time and pushed the total past 1,000 dead. The updated figures come after leader Xi Jinping visited a health center to rally public morale amid little sign the contagion is abating. Xi was featured on the state broadcaster's nightly news report visiting a community health center and expressing confidence in the “war against the disease.” Authorities in Hong Kong evacuated an apartment block after two cases among its residents raised suspicion the virus may be spreading through plumbing. And Britain declared the virus a “serious and imminent threat to public health” after five British tourists contracted the virus at a ski resort. - Associated Press


Sony, Amazon, Others Drop Out Of Big Tech Show Over Virus

February 10 10:26 a.m. - Sony, Amazon and Japan's NTT DoCoMo are the latest companies to pull out of a major European technology show over virus fears. Sony and NTT DoCoMo said Monday they're scrapping appearances at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, later this month. Sony will instead launch its latest devices through its YouTube channel on Feb. 24, the first day of the show. Amazon also said its withdrawing over continued concerns about the coronavirus. Ericsson, LG and Nvidia have also pulled out. The show organizers said Sunday they’re “moving ahead as planned” with the event, and outlined additional health and safety measures. - Associated Press

China Virus Cases Rise Again, 65 More On Ship In Japan

February 10 8:50 a.m. - China is reporting a rise in new virus cases, denting optimism that disease control measures which isolated major cities might be working. Japan is reporting dozens of new cases aboard a quarantined cruise ship. The mainland death toll has risen by 97 to 908. Japan's health ministry says 65 new cases were found on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined near Tokyo, in addition to 70 found earlier. Organizers of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, due to start this week, are canceling all of its more than 120 performances. - Associated Press

China's Virus Death Toll Surpasses SARS But New Cases Fall

February 8 8:00 p.m. - Mainland China's death toll from the new virus outbreak has risen to 811, surpassing the number of fatalities in the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic. However, the number of new cases reported over the last 24 hours on Sunday fell significantly from the previous period, something experts see as a sign the spread of the virus may be slowing. Another 89 deaths were reported, while 2,656 new cases were added for a total of 37,198. On Saturday, 3,399 cases were reported for the previous 24 hours. SARS is widely considered to have killed 774 people and sickened 8,098, mainly in mainland China and Hong Kong. The response this time is much quicker and countries around the world are enforcing stricter measures to contain the spread. - Associated Press

WHO To Send Mission To Virus-Hit China

February 8 10:30 a.m. - The head of the World Health Organization says it received a response from China on Saturday on the dispatch of a WHO-led international mission to the country, where a new virus has emerged. Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the team leader will leave on Monday or Tuesday and the rest of the experts will follow. Asked whether members of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be part of the team, he replied, "We hope so." Tedros wouldn't immediately name the leader or the rest of the team, or give further details, saying that WHO will “publicize everything as soon as we're ready.” - Associated Press

2 Charged In Coronavirus Prank In Suburban Chicago Store

February 7 1:29 p.m. - Police in the Chicago suburb of Joliet say a teen suspected of spraying disinfectant inside a Walmart while announcing that he had the new coronavirus has turned himself. Police say 19-year-old Tyler Wallace is charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, retail theft and criminal trespass to property. He's scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon. Wallace is accused of donning a surgical mask and putting a homemade sign on his back that proclaimed he had the virus before walking through the Joliet store last Sunday spraying items with Lysol. A 17-year-old who police say was with him has been arrested on similar charges.  - Associated Press

Chicago Husband, Wife Sickened By Coronavirus Leave Hospital

February 7 12:46 p.m. - A suburban Chicago hospital says that a man and his wife who were diagnosed with coronavirus last month have been discharged from the hospital and are now in isolation in their home. St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates say the two were sent home "under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Last month, the wife was diagnosed with the virus after returning from a trip to China and days later, her husband was diagnosed. Click here for the entire story.  - Associated Press

Coronavirus Concerns Weigh On Chinese Students At U.S. Colleges

February 6 6:30 p.m . - Nearly 6,000 students from China attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The spreading coronavirus is further isolating and complicating the lives of international students. We talked with Joy Zhu, who is studying accounting as a sophomore  and is one of about 150 students from the city of Wuhan. Click here for the entire story. - Charles Ledford, Illinois Newsroom

Chinese Doctor Who Sounded The Alarm About The Virus Dies

February 6 4:22 p.m. - A hospital in China says a doctor who got in trouble with authorities in the communist country for sounding an early warning about the coronavirus outbreak has died of the illness.. Dr. Li Wenliang, 34, was reportedly reprimanded for “spreading rumors” in late December. Meanwhile, a newborn discovered infected 36 hours after birth has become the youngest known patient. The number of people infected globally has risen to more than 28,200 and the death toll has climbed past 560. - Associated Press

Experts Scramble, But New Virus Vaccine May Not Come In Time

February 6 3:21 p.m. - The flu-like virus that exploded from China has researchers worldwide once again scrambling to find a vaccine against a surprise health threat, with no guarantee one will arrive in time. Among the fastest efforts, the U.S. National Institutes of Health is creating a vaccine using a piece of the new coronavirus' genetic code. Other teams are pursuing different types of vaccines. But rather than chasing outbreaks, specialists say it's time to develop prototype vaccine designs that could sit on the shelf, ready to be custom-matched to the next virus that pops up. - Associated Press

Chinese Scientists Ask For Patent On US Drug To Fight Virus

February 5 10:57 p.m. - Scientists in the city at the center of China’s virus outbreak have applied to patent a drug made by U.S. company Gilead Science Inc. to treat the disease, possibly fueling more of the conflict over technology policy that helped trigger Washington’s tariff war with Beijing. The government-run Wuhan Institute of Virology, based in the city at the center of the outbreak, said this week it applied for the patent in January along with a military laboratory. An institute statement said it acted to “protect national interests.” Granting its own scientists a patent might give the Chinese government leverage in negotiations over paying for the drug. But it also might fuel complaints Beijing abuses its regulatory system to pressure foreign companies to hand over valuable technology. - Associated Press

China Reports Deaths From New Virus Rise 

February 5 6:15 p.m. - China reports deaths from new virus rise by 73 to 563, number of confirmed cases jump by 3,694 to 28,018. - Associated Press

Man Says He Has Coronavirus, Sprays Store With Disinfectant

February 5 4:05 p.m. - Police are searching for a man who caused thousands of dollars of damage in a Walmart in suburban Chicago by spraying disinfectant while wearing a surgical mask and a sign on his back declaring that he has the deadly coronavirus. Police say the man in his 20s sprayed Lysol on clothing, produce and health and beauty items in the Joliet store causing nearly $10,000 in damage. A coronavirus has killed hundreds of people, mostly in mainland China, and sickened thousands of people around the world. The first person-to-person transmission of the virus in the U.S. happened last month in Chicago. - Associated Press

China Deaths Rise To 490, Japan Confirms 10 Cases On Ship

February 4 10:25 p.m. - Deaths from a new virus rose to 490 in mainland China while new cases on a Japanese cruise ship, in Hong Kong and elsewhere showed the increasing spread of the outbreak and renewed attention toward containing it. Ten people from the cruise ship tested positive and were taken to hospitals, while all 3,700 crew and passengers on the ship will be quarantined on board for up to 14 days. - Associated Press

American Airlines Halts Hong Kong Flights, United To Follow

February 4 6:09 p.m. - American Airlines says it has suspended flights to Hong Kong, and United will halt flights there starting Saturday. The airlines' actions come as the coronavirus outbreak undercuts demand for travel to mainland China and Hong Kong. American said Tuesday it will suspend flights from Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth to Hong Kong, and United will halt flights from San Francisco. Both suspensions run through Feb. 20. The airlines had already halted flights to mainland China. Even before the virus outbreak that started in Wuhan, China, interest in flying to Hong Kong was weakened by anti-government protests in the city. - Associated Press

Air China Seeks To Pare US Routes Due To Virus Outbreak

February 4 4:17 p.m.: Air China wants to reduce flights to the U.S. and operate flights between two pairs of American cities — that's unusual for a foreign airline. The airline cites a decline in travel between China and the United States due to the coronavirus outbreak. The state-owned Chinese airline wants to fly from Beijing to Los Angles and on to San Francisco, and also from Beijing to New York and then Washington. It would fly both routes in the reverse directions too. Air China says it won't seek to board new passengers for the legs between U.S. cities. A request like that would draw protests from U.S. airlines. - Associated Press

1st US Patient With New Virus Leaves Hospital, Is Recovering

February 3 4:25 p.m. - The man who became the first U.S. patient with the new virus from China has left the hospital and says in a statement that he is getting better and looks forward to life returning to normal. The unidentified 35-year-old man's statement was provided to The Associated Press by Providence Medical Center in Everett, Washington, near Seattle. He fell sick after returning from a visit to China and was admitted on Jan. 20. Health officials say the man is in isolation at home and is being monitored by public health workers. - Associated Press

DHS: New Screening To Begin Amid Coronavirus Concerns

February 2 4:21 p.m. - The Department of Homeland Security is warning airline passengers that their flights may wind up rerouted if officials discover mid-flight that someone onboard has been in China in the last 14 days. The warning comes as the U.S. steps up its response to the coronavirus outbreak. DHS guidance comes in a notice released by the department Sunday as new travel restrictions officially go into effect for flights commencing after 5 p.m. EDT. Under the new rules, U.S. citizens who have traveled in China within the last 14 days will be re-routed to one of seven designated airports, where they will undergo enhanced health screening procedures. - Associated Press

Philippines Reports World's 1st Virus Death Outside China

February 2 3:51 p.m. - The Philippines is reporting the first death outside China from the new coronavirus. Chinese authorities, meanwhile, are delaying the opening of schools in the hardest-hit province and tightening the quarantine in one city by allowing only one family member to venture out to buy supplies. The death toll in China has reached 304, and the number of people infected worldwide has climbed past 14,550, the vast majority of them in China. A 1,000-bed hospital specially built to handle coronavirus patients in the epicenter city of Wuhan is expected to open on Monday, just 10 days after construction began. A second hospital is set to open soon after. - Associated Press

US Bars Foreigners Coming From China For Now Over Virus Fear

January 31 4:47 p.m. - The United States has declared a public health emergency and announced significant entry restrictions because of a new virus that hit China and has spread to other nations. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also announced that President Donald Trump will temporarily bar entry to the U.S. of foreign nationals who have traveled to China within the last 14 days. This does not apply to immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The new restrictions begin Sunday afternoon. Americans returning from Hubei province, the center of the outbreak, will be required to undergo 14 days of quarantine. Others returning from elsewhere in China will be allowed to self-monitor their condition for a similar period. Click here for story from NPR. - Associated Press

China Flying Home Residents Of Virus-Afflicted Region

January 30 9:53 p.m. - China's foreign ministry says it will send charter flights to bring home residents of virus-afflicted region from overseas. The one-sentence statement Friday gave few details, but said those from Hubei province and its capital Wuhan would be sent directly back to Wuhan in light of the “practical difficulties" they were encountering. The new type of virus originated in Wuhan and has since spread to more than a dozen nations and regions overseas. Most of the overseas cases were found among people who had traveled from Wuhan, although physicians are concerned about person-to-person transmission affecting people who had not been in the major industrial center of 11 million people in central China.  - Associated Press

Coronavirus Concerns Could Affect New US-China Trade Deal

January 30 6:00 p.m. - The coronavirus outbreak has trade experts worried about the fate of the phase one trade agreement between the U.S. and China. Todd Hubbs is an agriculture economist at the University of Illinois. He says even before the outbreak there was concern that China wouldn’t be able to meet trade targets set in the agreement. He says the problem is that a slowdown in the Chinese economy means that people buy less goods, including agricultural goods. Hubbs says the coronavirus outbreak has already had a negative impact on commodity prices, especially soybeans. - Dana Cronin, Illinois Newsroom

UN Agency Declares Global Emergency Over Virus From China

US Reports 1st Case Of Person-To-Person Spread Of New Virus Is In Chicago

January 30 1:30 p.m. - Health officials are reporting the first U.S. case of person-to-person spread of the new virus from China. The latest patient is the husband of the Chicago woman who got sick after she returned from a trip to China. The new case announced Thursday is the sixth in the United States. The other five were travelers who fell ill after returning from China. Experts have said they have expected additional cases in the U.S., and that at least some limited spread of the disease in the country was likely. Click here for the entire story. - Associated Press

University of Illinois Suspends Programs In China

January 29 11:30 a.m. - In a mass mail on Wednesday morning, University of Illinois Provost Andreas Cangellaris announced the U of I is suspending academic programs in China for the current spring semester due to concerns about coronavirus. There are currently no active cases in Champaign County.  146 U of I students are from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the illness outbreak. A few students who traveled to the region during the winter break have decided to "self-quarantine" themselves.  The suspension also means U of I students will not be allowed to travel to China for university-related matters until travel advisories are lifted. The US State Department on Monday elevated its travel advisory to Level 3, Reconsider Travel. - Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

WHO Says Virus Death Rate Is About 2 Percent

January 29 11:03 a.m. - The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief says China is taking “extraordinary measures in the face of an extraordinary challenge" because of the virus outbreak. Dr. Michael Ryan made the comments to reporters Wednesday after returning from a trip to Beijing to discuss the new virus with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior government leaders. Ryan says the epidemic remains centered in the city of Wuhan and in Hubei province but that “information is being updated and is changing by the hour.” He says many of those affected experience only a mild illness and estimated that the death rate is at about 2%. The death rate for SARS, a related virus, was about 10%. - Associated Press

No Coronavirus In Champaign County, But Health Officials Say They’re Ready

January 28 8:00 p.m. - At a news conference at the University of Illinois, McKinley Health Center director Robert Parker says he emailed each of the 146 students who came to the Urbana campus from Wuhan, with information related to the virus. He says several wrote back to say they had not traveled to Wuhan during the university’s winter break that ended last week, which means they are not at risk of bringing the virus with them. And for those who had traveled to Wuhan, Parker said several said they had decided to “self-quarantine” themselves. Click here for the rest of the story. - Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

AP Source: Jet Evacuates Americans From China Outbreak Zone

Coronavirus Concerns Empty Local Stores Of Masks

January 28 1:00 p.m. - Health officials continue to say that the best protection against the novel coronavirus is hand washing and cough-covering. But if you’re looking for more protection, say in the form of a respiratory mask, you’ll be hard pressed to find one in Champaign-Urbana. On Sunday and Monday, we checked with pharmacies, big box stores, medical supply stores, even two local hardware stores – all are sold out.  Click here for the rest of the story. - Charles Ledford, Illinois Newsroom

US Beefs Up Screening Of Travelers For New Virus From China

University of Illinois Campus Forum Scheduled Tuesday 

January 27 3:30 p.m. - Tomorrow, health officials in Champaign will discuss their response to the coronavirus at a forum on the University of Illinois campus. The forum will take place at 9:00 a.m. at the Fire Service Institute at 11 Gerty Drive. Champaign Urbana Public Health administrator Julie Pryde will answer questions. She’ll be joined by Robert Parker, the director of the U-of-I’s McKinley Health Center and Janet Jokela, the acting dean of the University of Illinois' College of Medicine. The university confirms McKinley Health Center evaluated one person with possible symptoms but determined they did NOT have the illness. U of I also says students who traveled to Wuhan City over the holiday break are in self-quarantine or wearing surgical masks when going to classes.  - Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

UN Health Chief Visits China To Help With Virus Containment

Concern & Solidarity Leads To Cancellation Of Local Lunar New Year Celebration

January 24 5:00 p.m. - Concerns about the spreading coronavirus and a desire to express solidarity with people in the Chinese city of Wuhan have led to the cancellation of one of the largest Lunar New Year celebrations in the midwest. Click here for the rest of the story. - Charles Ledford, Illinois Newsroom

Chicago Woman Becomes 2nd US Case of New Virus From China

January 24 12:00 p.m. - A Chicago woman has become the second U.S. patient diagnosed with the new pneumonia-like virus from China, health officials announced Friday. Click here for the rest of the story. - Associated Press

O’Hare Airport Will Begin Screening Travelers From Wuhan, China, After First U.S. Coronavirus Case Confirmed

January 21 - The CDC said O’Hare International Airport will join four other U.S. airports this week in screening passengers traveling from Wuhan, China, where the virus originated. Click here for the rest of the story. - Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom

Story source: Illinois Newsroom