A man hospitalized in Everett, Washington, has been diagnosed with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) after returning to the U.S. from travels to Wuhan, China, the city of 11 million people. At this article’s deadline, the infectious respiratory disease had already killed 18 people and spread to nine countries since first being identified last month.
Because there’s so little known so far about 2019-nCoV, there’s no vaccine or specific treatment available and the care is primarily supportive rather than curative. The World Health Organization is declining, for now, to declare a public health emergency of international concern but will meet again in early February and has offered recommendations to China and other countries.
You can learn more about the ethical questions that arise for physicians when global health emergencies strike, as covered in the timely January issue of the AMA Journal of Ethics®. A JAMA Viewpoint published today, written by experts from Penn State University College of Medicine and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explains why human coronaviruses have long been considered “inconsequential” but those such as…
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