Don't Panic: Chicago's Coronavius Case Not A Local Emergency

Brandon Ison
January 25, 2020 - 11:52 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Experts say people should be only be concerned about the cold-like symptoms of the coronavirus if you have recently traveled to China or have come into contact with someone who has the virus.

Jennifer Grant, an infectious disease specialist in Skokie with NorthShore University HealthSystem, said the virus is relatively new in affecting humans and most likely originated from exposure to infected animals.

"We do know it spreads from person to person and it spreads similar to any cold virus," Grant said. 

Because it's similar to a common cold, she said it may not affect an individual anymore than a cold would.

But after news broke of the second confirmed case of the virus in Chicago, people have been a little shaken. China has put Wuhan, the city at ground zero of the virus, on lockdown and has cancelled cultural events like the celebration of the Lunar Year. Locally, however, there is no need for panic at this time, experts like Grant said.

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Chicago Department of Public Health director Doctor Allison Arwady said the local woman, who is in her 60s and traveled from China Jan. 13 and began feeling symptoms shortly after, with the coronavirus is in stable condition and "clinically doing well."

Arwady said this is a "single travel-associated case, not a local emergency... I can reassure you that even with this Chicago case, the health risk to the general public from novel coronavirus remains low at this time, both nationally and in Chicago."

She said there is no need for the general public to change their behavior in any way, based on this news.

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