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Novel Coronavirus May Be Contagious During Incubation Period

January 28, 2020

The novel coronavirus associated with the current Chinese outbreak has an incubation time of 10 to 14 days, during which time the virus can be transmitted, according to Ma Xiaowei, the Minister in charge of the Chinese National Health Commission.1

As of January 26, 2020, 2014 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus have been reported, 1985 of which were in China. Cases have also been reported in the United States, France, and Australia.  Of 29 cases reported outside of China, 26 reported travel history from Wuhan City, China, the origin point of the outbreak. Fifty-six deaths have been reported.2

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that health care providers watch out for patients with travel history to Wuhan, China with fever and respiratory symptoms, and, if caring for an individual with confirmed novel coronavirus, to follow the recommended infection control procedures.3

“While CDC considers this is a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time. Nevertheless, CDC is taking proactive preparedness precautions.”

—Michael Potts


  1. More U.S. coronavirus cases emerge, as china’s death toll rises. The New York Times. January 26, 2020. Accessed January 27, 2020.
  2. Novel coronavirus(2019-ncov): situation report-6:26 January 2020 [press release]. Geneva: World Health Organization; January 26, 2020. Accessed January 27, 2020.
  3. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Wuhan, China. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated January 26, 2020. Accessed January 27, 2020.
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