The man who had the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the U.S. has improved and is now recovering at home, health officials in his home state of Washington said Monday.
The 35-year-old man from Everett, Wash., was admitted to the hospital on Jan. 20 after developing respiratory issues in the days after returning from a business trip to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of this coronavirus outbreak. He had read about the illness online, and contacted his doctor for testing. He was quickly put into quarantine at Providence Medical Center in Everett “out of an abundance of caution and for observation,” Washington state health official Dr. Scott Lindquist said in a press briefing on Jan. 21.
Now, two weeks later, the patient has been released from the hospital and is “continuing to get better” at home, he said in a statement shared with the Associated Press.
“I am at home and continuing to get better,” the man said, declining to use his name. “I ask that the media please respect my privacy and my desire not to be in the public eye.”
“I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and entire team at Providence who cared for me. I appreciate all of the concern expressed by members of the public, and I look forward to returning to my normal life,” he continued.
The patient will remain in isolation at home, with staff from the Snohomish Health District and the hospital monitoring his symptoms.
The man is the first of the U.S. coronavirus patients to leave the hospital. There are now 11 cases, including his, in the country — two in Chicago, six in California, one in Phoenix and one in Boston. Most of the patients had recently returned from Hubei province in China, where Wuhan is located, but two of the patients are the spouse of another patient who had transferred the virus from person to person contact.
Still, the Centers for Disease Control stress that the average American is at a “low” risk of developing this coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, and that the seasonal flu is more of a threat.
“Our guidance is that at this time of year, the best things you can do are the things that we generally recommend at this time of year to prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control said Thursday. “Wash your hands, cover your cough, take care of yourself, and keep alert to the information that we’re providing, because we’ll provide new information as it becomes available.”
Meanwhile, the virus continues to spread worldwide, with 28 countries reporting confirmed cases of the illness. On Tuesday, China said there are 20,438 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, and 425 deaths, with the vast majority — 80 percent — occurring in people over 60 years old.
Two deaths have occurred outside mainland China — one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.
However, China has reported a significant amount of recoveries — as of Tuesday, 632 people have improved after contracting coronavirus.