The coronavirus epidemic that started in China late last year continues to spread around the world, with hundreds more cases confirmed in South Korea on Wednesday and Italy and Iran racing to try and control smaller, but equally worrying outbreaks.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans Tuesday to be prepared for the COVID-19 illness to start spreading within the U.S. populace, saying it’s a question of when, not if.
Among the almost 1,300 cases in South Korea — the largest outbreak outside China — was a 23-year-old U.S. service member who has been ordered to self-quarantine in their home off-base. Before he was isolated, however, he recently visited two U.S. military facilities in the region where South Korea’s outbreak is focused. The U.S. has thousands of troops based around the city of Daegu, where the outbreak has been linked to a large church congregation.
With the global death toll from the flu-like virus now over 2,700 and South Korea, Italy and Iran reporting significant daily jumps in cases, mounting fear that the disease could gain a foothold in other countries. The CDC’s warning on Tuesday shaved about 3% off stock prices on all the major U.S. exchanges, and Asian and European markets were down again Wednesday.