Canada Says Wife Of First nCoV Patient Also Has Virus

Another alarming development in the global coronavirus outbreak has been confirmed: Public health officials in Ontario are preparing to announce that the wife of Canada’s first coronavirus patient has also been stricken with the virus.

The significance of this news may be lost on some casual observers, as it was no doubt lost on the reporters from the Canadian Press News who got the scoop: But this might constitutes evidence of human-to-human transmission outside of China – a sign that the virus has reached a new stage of contagion that some epidemiologists and researchers dismissed as extremely improbable just last week.

It’s unclear whether the woman traveled to China with her husband, so it’s still not certain whether she contracted the disease from the same source as her husband, or whether he actually passed it to him. The CPN reported that she has been in self-imposed isolation with her husband since arriving in Toronto (presumably for him to get treatment) last week.

On Thursday, the WHO declined to designate the outbreak as a global pandemic, arguing that China had the resources to contain the virus, and that it had not yet become a global problem. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said they needed more information to reach a consensus on whether to declare a PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern). Specifically, the organization wanted to see evidence of human-to-human transmission outside of China before declaring a global emergency.

This has now been confirmed. So, how much longer until the WHO reverses its decision? We suspect they’ll wait at least until 4 pm ET.


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