Coronavirus taking bite out of Thanksgiving travel for Sonoma County

Anne Henderson of Rohnert Park is accustomed to the warmth of Thanksgiving celebrations with up to 30 people at a friend’s house and a smaller family get-together at her son’s home.

But Henderson and her daughter, Angelina, 13, have been isolated since the coronavirus pandemic flared.

The epidemiologist for the California Department of Public Health described the circumstances behind Henderson - who is in our area about 90 minutes southwest of the Sonoma County town of Santa Rosa - being isolated on the 54th anniversary of the virus' first outbreak.

The coronavirus is one of the most hostile killers known to humankind. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist Mary Mulholland, it's transmitted by shared droplets from the mouth to the eyes in uncooked poultry, fish and other foods.

"It can be transmitted from person to person but there is serious concern that humans may become strongly infected and not realize they're infected," she said in an interview with KABC archive news producer David Goldstein. "Because there is no evidence that this can be infectiously acquired in an unvaccinated household, it is believed to be transmitted only through food or water."

As of June 20, 49 confirmed cases of the coronavirus had been reported in the seven countries hardest hit by the 2014 disease outbreak, according to the commission's permanent crisis management center.

About 40 percent of the U.S. population - 13 million people - demonstrated normal home-based exposure to the virus in 2015, with 43 percent living in the western half of the country and 29 percent in the eastern half, according to the state Department of Public Health. Only a small fraction of people who are upwards of three months or older were at grave risk of acquiring the disease as a result of foodborne exposure.

Only two of the known coronavirus cases on record are children.

Highly contagious, the illness can cause persistent fever and severe joint pain, dementia and kidney failure. Next-of-kin generally know within days whether or not someone they trust has already been impacted by the illness.

Several weeks after the final outbreak of the coronavirus hit the East Coast, Hawaii residents were quarantined off. The U.S. mainland never had direct contact with the virus and doesn't expect in its current form to set foot in Hawaii again for some time; the World Health Organization says sanitation, quarantine, and travel policy remain the same.

From the commission's report:

A few days after Linda and Larry Harris, a 35-year-old husband and wife from Kent, Wash., had traveled from Seattle (along with Niroshan Chalse, Aivar Anthony, and Sharad Utitli) in the summer of 2014, Niroshan