Story at a glance

  • More infections are expected among American evacuees who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
  • A majority of U.S. cases are in people who were evacuated home by the State Department.
  • Health officials called it a “tremendous public threat.”

At least 34 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S. and more are expected, according to federal health officials. 

The New York Times reports 13 of the infections were diagnosed in travelers who became sick after returning from overseas, and 21 are people who were “repatriated” by the State Department. 

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a news briefing Friday that more infections are expected among the American evacuees who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. They are currently under quarantine as Messonnier said they are considered to be at high risk for infection. 

Messonnier said 10 other passengers from the Diamond Princess tested positive for the virus in Japan, but are not part of the tally at this time because their tests have yet to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

“This new virus represents a tremendous public health threat,” Dr. Messonnier said. 

As of Friday, at least 75,000 people globally have been infected with the coronavirus and more than 2,200 have died, with the majority of cases taking place in mainland China.

Published on Feb 21, 2020