Huge jump in coronavirus cases and deaths in China as U.S. confirms 15th case

Doctors in China adopted a new way of diagnosing the novel coronavirus, leading to a huge jump in the official number of deaths blamed on the disease and the number of confirmed cases in the country. Officials in Hubei province, the Chinese region where the virus is believed to have jumped into the human population from wild animals, reported 254 new deaths and 15,152 new cases of the flu-like virus. 

The increase brought the worldwide death toll to at least 1,370, including Japan’s first fatality.

The vast majority of cases have occurred in mainland China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Thursday that a 15th case of the disease — now called COVID-19 — in the United States.

A Malaysian health quarantine officer waits for passengers at a thermal screening point at a cruise ship terminal, following the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, in Port Klang
A Malaysian health quarantine officer waits for passengers at a thermal screening point at a cruise ship terminal in Port Klang, Malaysia, February 13, 2020.REUTERS

The sharp increase in China came after two days of reported declines in confirmed new cases in the country. It was the result of Chinese doctors in Hubei province starting to use lung imaging to diagnose the disease, in addition to the standard nucleic acid tests they had been using.

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