My last two posts looked at the problems that might be caused by hospital spread of the new coronavirus, based on what happened during the early days of SARS 10 years ago. Hospital spread of this new virus is a real concern; it was first identified, retrospectively, in an outbreak in a hospital in Jordan a year ago, and international concern really picked up after the acknowledgement of a current outbreak in the Al-Ahsa region of Saudi Arabia. Now it appears there is a third instance of hospital spread, in France. Several days ago the French Ministry of Health announced a single case, a Frenchman who had traveled to Dubai and may have been infected there. This morning, there is news of a second case, a person who shared a hospital room with the first patient. Here’s the announcement from the French Ministry and one from the World Health Organization. (And if you read French, I talk to the French newspaper Le Figaro about it here.) Simultaneously, the WHO has announced that two more patients have been recognized in that Saudi hospital cluster. That makes 15 patients (three of whom died) in that cluster, and 34 patients (18 deaths) worldwide.
There’s additional news today as well, which is both heartening and a little concerning too.