Coronavirus continues to infect Americans, Nearly 50 on Cruise Ship,Couple gets infected in Hawaii

The latest coming out regarding the cruise ships being quarantined is that at least forty-four Americans that traveled on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have been infected and have been ordered to stay at local hospitals in Japan to recover. 

Chinese scientists believe the deadly coronavirus may have started life in a research facility just 300 yards from the Wuhan fish market.

A new bombshell paper from the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology says that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WHCDC) could have spawned the contagion in Hubei province.

‘The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus,’ penned by scholars Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao claims the WHCDC kept disease-ridden animals in laboratories, including 605 bats. 

It also mentions that bats – which are linked to coronavirus – once attacked a researcher and ‘blood of bat was on his skin.’

Workers in protective gear carry a bag containing a giant salamander that was reported to have escaped from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province in January

The report says: ‘Genome sequences from patients were 96% or 89% identical to the Bat CoV ZC45 coronavirus originally found in Rhinolophus affinis (intermediate horseshoe bat).’ 

It describes how the only native bats are found around 600 miles away from the Wuhan seafood market and that the probability of bats flying from Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces was minimal.

In addition there is little to suggest the local populace eat the bats as evidenced by testimonies of 31 residents and 28 visitors. 

Instead the authors point to research being carried out withing a few hundred yards at the WHCDC.

One of the researchers at the WHCDC described quarantining himself for two weeks after a bat’s blood got on his skin, according to the report. That same man also quarantined himself after a bat urinated on him.

‘The WHCDC was also adjacent to the Union Hospital (Figure 1, bottom) where the first group of doctors were infected during this epidemic.’ The report says.

And he also mentions discovering a live tick from a bat – parasites known for their ability to pass infections through a host animal’s blood.

‘The WHCDC was also adjacent to the Union Hospital (Figure 1, bottom) where the first group of doctors were infected during this epidemic.’ The report says.

‘It is plausible that the virus leaked around and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this epidemic, though solid proofs are needed in future study.’

And as well as the WHCDC, the report suggests that the Wuhan Institute of Virology could also have leaked the virus, as has previously been reported by MailOnline.

‘This laboratory reported that the Chinese horseshoe bats were natural reservoirs for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) which caused the 2002-3 pandemic,’ the report says.

members of staff of the Wuhan Hygiene Emergency Response Team drive their vehicle as they leave the closed Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in the city of Wuhan, in Hubei on January 11
The seafood market after it was locked off by police at the beginning of January

‘The principle investigator participated in a project which generated a chimeric virus using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, and reported the potential for human emergence 10. A direct speculation was that SARS-CoV or its derivative might leak from the laboratory.’

The report concludes that ‘the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.’

It comes as the outbreak has infected more than 69,000 people globally, with 1,665 deaths in China – most of these in the central province of Hubei. 

A hunt for clues in Hawaii after a tourist couple falls ill with coronavirus

HONOLULU — Chantelle Pajarillo had settled into a resort on Hawaii’s famous Waikiki Beach, hoping for a peaceful long weekend away from work and school with her family. The peaceful part came to an end as soon as she turned on the television set Friday night and learned that a Japanese couple who had been staying at the same hotel had fallen ill with the coronavirus.

Pajarillo, who lives 25 miles away on another part of the island of Oahu, did not know what room the couple had stayed in, but it did not matter: She requested a stash of disinfecting wipes and started cleaning every surface she could find.

“I wiped down everything I knew they would touch: the sliding door, the refrigerator, countertops and the bathroom,” Pajarillo said Saturday as she walked back to the pool at the Grand Waikikian, toting a stack of towels. “I’m a germaphobe myself and I have three little kids so I want to make sure I take every precaution.”

Hawaii health officials were working swiftly over the weekend to find anyone who might have had contact with the Japanese couple, who had also visited the island of Maui. Health authorities said the husband and wife, both in their 60s, were not diagnosed until they returned to Japan, but the husband began showing symptoms while still staying in one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist neighborhoods.

More than 9 million people visit Hawaii each year, 1 in 3 of whom are international tourists. Health officials said that there was little chance that the infection had spread, but that they would continue to search for anyone who had prolonged contact with the couple. There had been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state before the two tourists were diagnosed in Japan.

But at least one local resident said he believed that he had spent time with the Japanese man who was later confirmed with the virus. The resident, John Fujiwara, 52, said the friend that he had visited with for about half an hour on Feb. 4 had the same travel itinerary as the man described by state health officials; he also lives in the same city and is also in his 60s. Fujiwara said he had not been able to reach his friend since he left Hawaii on Feb. 7.

The man seemed healthy, if a bit tired, when they had met to drink coffee, catch up and exchange chocolates as gifts, Fujiwara said. The man had spent that morning shopping in Chinatown, and had told him that he planned to attend a Japanese language event at a local grocery store immediately after their visit.

Fujiwara said that he had reached out to state health officials, and had offered to isolate himself after reading a report about the man in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

In an email he shared with The New York Times, a disease intervention specialist with the Hawaii Department of Health did not confirm that Fujiwara’s friend was the one who had been diagnosed, but told him that he should contact the department if he had any symptoms before Tuesday, which would be two weeks after he saw his friend — the maximum incubation period for coronavirus.

“I plan to go to dinner with my girlfriend tonight, unless things change, specifically because I have it in writing from the state of Hawaii Department of Health to continue my daily routine,” Fujiwara said.

Janice Okubo, a spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Health, said that the man who was confirmed with the virus “is not believed to have had any prolonged, close contact with Hawaii residents,” but that health officials were continuing to investigate.

Dr. Sarah Park, the state epidemiologist, said the man had most likely been exposed to the virus before leaving Japan or while traveling to Hawaii. He and his wife, who was also confirmed Saturday with the virus but did not show symptoms while in Hawaii, arrived on Maui on Jan. 28. The man was also symptom-free in Maui, but after the couple moved to Honolulu, on Oahu, on Feb. 3, he began showing signs of a cold.

A spokeswoman for Hilton Grand Vacations, which runs the hotel and timeshare where the couple stayed in Waikiki, said the company was working with health officials. A letter slipped under the door of vacationers’ rooms provided tips on how to keep from getting the virus, washing hands being chief among them.

The man who became ill wore a mask when he was outside and while on the flight back to Japan, officials said, and was diagnosed with pneumonia, and later with coronavirus, after returning to the couple’s home in Nagoya, Japan’s fourth-largest city.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that it may be possible to transmit the virus before showing signs of the illness, but that a person is much more likely to spread it when they have symptoms.

Aubree Gordon, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, said she agreed with Hawaiian health officials that people who had traveled with the man were at greatest risk, though anyone who touched surfaces shortly after he did — such as a faucet or toilet handle — could also be at risk.

“I think we’re going to have a lot of cases like this popping up, where people come into a place and get diagnosed there, or leave and we find out after the fact that they’re sick,” Gordon said.

More than 68,000 people around the world have been infected with the virus and more than 1,650 have died, almost all of them in mainland China, where the outbreak began in the city of Wuhan. In the United States, 15 people have been confirmed with the virus, most of whom have been said to have mild symptoms.This story was originally published at nytimes.com.