It’s official. With 9,692 confirmed cases [nhc.gov.cn] – nearly 10,000 as of January 31, 2020 [Johns Hopkins Data] – the deadly Wuhan coronavirus has now surpassed SARS. The virus, provisionally known as 2019-nCov, has been declared a Global Health emergency by the World Health Organization as nations across the globe scramble to protect their populations from the outbreak.
With cases recently reported in India, the Philippines, and Italy, the total of infected countries now stands at 22 with more expected to follow. The United States has also reported its first human-to-human transmission of the virus while the state department issues a grave warning against traveling to China [travel.state.gov].
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, known as SARS, is a zoonotic disease caused by the SARS coronavirus. The first outbreak started in China and lasted between November 2002 and July 2003 resulting in 8,093 confirmed cases and 774 fatalities in 17 countries.
With almost 9,700 cases in 22 countries, the Wuhan coronavirus has surpassed SARS in its scope. It, however, is much less fatal than the prior disease. SARS had a fatality rate of 9.6 percent [World Health Organization] compared to around 2.2 percent for Wuhan coronavirus.
But unfortunately, Wuhan coronavirus’ smaller fatality rate makes it a more contagious illness.
Wuhan coronavirus has a sizable two-week incubation period [Avert] where victims may still be able to transmit the disease despite not showing any symptoms themselves. There are also fears that the virus may mutate into more deadly and contagious forms.
While the Chinese government is increasingly receiving criticism for its handling of the Wuhan coronavirus crisis, other countries are acting quickly to limit its spread abroad.
In Italy, thousands were held aboard a cruise ship because one passenger was suspected of being infected with the disease. The passengers were later released [USA Today] after the woman was found to be sick with the regular flu. In Russia, Vladimir Putin’s government has moved to close the nation’s entire border with China [Moscow Times] to prevent the virus’ spread. Meanwhile, American lawmakers remain hopeful that the country will be able to get the Wuhan coronavirus under control.
President Donald Trump spoke on the issue [CNBC] while visiting a manufacturing plant in Michigan on Thursday, stating :
We are working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us, that I can assure you.
Notably, he added:
We have it all under control. It’s a very small problem in this country.
The president also went on to Tweet that only five people had been infected in the U.S hours after the 6th case of the disease was reported.
The sixth case was, crucially, the first human-to-human transmission [CBS] recorded in the country.
Last modified: June 24, 2020 1:05 AM UTC