Coronavirus Update: Confirmed Cases Surpass 17,000 As Death Toll Rises

As researchers try to learn more about the new coronavirus strain, confirmed cases and the death toll continue to rise.

Temporarily named 2019-nCoV, the virus was first identified in December in Wuhan, China, after several people sought medical help for pneumonia-like symptoms. This is the first time the virus has been detected in humans, and researchers worldwide are studying its genome sequence to determine key characteristics, including the method and rate of its ability to spread.

As of Monday morning, there were 17,389 confirmed cases, according to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an increase of 2,832 cases from the previous day. Ghebreyesus confirmed there have been 362 deaths, including one person in the Philippines who was the first death reported outside of China.

People have tested positive for the virus in 24 countries, including the United States, but China has seen the greatest impact. Of the total confirmed cases, 17,238 involved people within China, and the majority of those cases were found in Hubei province, where the virus originated.

To curb the spread of the virus, Chinese officials started closing off travel to and from Wuhan on January 23. Travel restrictions were later expanded to include a number of other areas of the province.

Additionally, countries have taken measures to prevent a widespread global outbreak, including imposing travel restrictions of their own.

coronavirus cases update death toll increase
Travelers arrive at the LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal wearing medical masks for protection against the new coronavirus strain on February 2 in Los Angeles. On Monday, confirmed cases worldwide surpassed 17,000, and deaths rose to more than 360. David McNew/Getty

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation prohibiting noncitizens from entering the U.S. if they were in China, not including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days of their arrival. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the incubation of the virus ranges from two to 14 days.

Along with preventing travel into the U.S., the State Department raised China's travel advisory level to a four, the highest on the scale. A designation originally reserved solely for Wuhan, the increased level urges people to avoid travel to all areas of China.

The CDC confirmed the first case of 2019-nCoV in the U.S. on January 21. The patient had recently returned to Washington state from Wuhan, and in the two weeks since, an additional 10 cases in this country were identified. Six cases have been confirmed in California, two in Illinois and one each in Arizona and Massachusetts.

Despite the increase in the number of cases, U.S. officials reassured the public that the virus shouldn't be a grave concern because the likelihood of being exposed is still low. Of the 11 cases in the U.S., the vast majority involved people who had recently traveled to Wuhan, signaling that people who weren't in the outbreak's epicenter were predominantly not at risk.

There are only two cases of people becoming infected with the virus without visiting Wuhan, one in California and one in Illinois. In both cases, the individual tested positive for the virus after the person's spouse returned from China.

On Friday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency and said it was likely there would be more cases in the U.S. in the upcoming days and weeks. These cases could include "limited" person-to-person transmission, but Azar once again urged people not to panic.

"The American public can be assured: The full weight of the U.S. government is working to safeguard the health and safety of the American people," he said.