Monday, January 27, 2020

2019-nCoV Spreads Quickly

In this photo taken on January 25, 2020, medical staff in protective clothing arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, China 

The coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV that is spreading around the world after originating at a seafood market that also sells live animals and animal parts in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province – is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. 

FYI, coronaviruses are common, and typically cause mild respiratory symptoms, such as a cough or runny nose. But some are more serious – such as the deadly SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).

The World Health Organization have acknowledged that the respiratory illness is an emergency in China – although they have not yet classed the virus as an "international emergency", partly because of the low number of overseas cases. 

The gravity of the health crisis is said to be still an open question. It is not clear just how lethal the virus is, or even whether it is as dangerous as ordinary flu, which kills tens of thousands of people every year in the US alone. 

Scientists say it is also not clear if it spreads as easily as SARS, its genetic cousin, which also originated in China and killed about 800 people in 2002-2003.

But one thing’s for sure – the speed at which 2019-nCoV is spreading is accelerating! 

In China, 56 people have died, nearly all in the Hubei province, but officials have confirmed four deaths elsewhere – one in Hebei province, one in northeastern Heilongjiang province, one in Henan province and the fourth in the city of Shanghai. 

As at yesterday, a total of 1,975 cases were recorded. as the country steps up its response to the crisis by restricting movements and closing tourist sites. 

The countries that have so far confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV: Australia (4), France (3), Hong Kong (6), Japan (4), Macau (5), Malaysia (4), Nepal (1), Singapore (4), South Korea (3), Taiwan (3), Thailand (8), United States (3), and Vietnam (2).

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