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Health Highlights: Jan. 24, 2020

Last Updated: January 24, 2020.

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Hospital Being Built in China for Coronavirus Outbreak, as Death Toll Rises to 26

A new 1,000-bed hospital just for patients infected with the coronavirus that's caused 830 confirmed illnesses and 26 deaths in China is expected to be completed in the city of Wuhan by Feb. 3, officials said Friday.

In another effort to combat the spread of the virus, transportation was shut down Friday in at least 12 cities in central China with a total of about 35 million people affected, the The New York Times reported.

The cities include Wuhan, where the outbreak has been concentrated, and many of its neighbors in Hubei province. The transportation shutdown comes during the Lunar New Year, China's most important holiday.

The prefabricated hospital being built in Wuhan is modeled after one that was built in Beijing in just six days during the SARS outbreak in 2003, the Associated Press reported.

The outbreak has triggered precautions across China. In Beijing, major public events have been canceled and tourist destinations such as the Forbidden City and Shanghai Disneyland have been closed.

Meanwhile, other countries have reported cases of the new coronavirus. South Korea and Japan both confirmed their second cases Friday and Singapore confirmed its third. Cases have been detected in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States, the AP reported.

So far, the only confirmed case of the new coronavirus in the United States has been a man who traveled back to Washington state from Wuhan, CBS News reported.

However, 10 patients in California, one in Texas and one in Tennessee were all being held in isolation as of Friday morning, as doctors wait for test results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether the patients have the coronavirus, CBS News reported.

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Nearly Half of U.S. Smokers Not Advised by Doctors to Quit: Surgeon General

Too few American smokers are advised by their doctors to quit, according to a report released Thursday by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.

"Forty percent of smokers don't get advised to quit," he told The New York Times. "That was a shocking statistic to me, and it's a little embarrassing as a health professional."

"Four out of every nine adult cigarette smokers who saw a health professional during the past year did not receive advice to quit," according to the report.

It advised smokers to use a number of cessation methods known to be effective, but noted that e-cigarettes are not among those, The Times reported.

Vulnerable populations -- including gay and transgender people, Native Americans, people with mental illness -- aren't getting the help they need to quit smoking, according to the Surgeon General's report.

It said doctors and public health officials need to do more to help these groups stop smoking.

"The biggest take-home from this report is that far too many people who want to quit aren't getting access to the cessation treatments that we know work," Adams told The Times.


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