Posted in: Headlines
Published:
March 10, 2020 8:23 AM UTC

Italy’s 11-Day 1500% Coronavirus Explosion Throws Scary U.S. Warning

The U.S. has seen 729 coronavirus cases to date, raising the risk of a large-scale epidemic. When China saw 600 cases, it locked down Wuhan.

  • By the time Italy and China had more than 600 coronavirus patients, extreme measures were taken.
  • The U.S. now has more than 700 confirmed cases, and no strong measures are being implemented.
  • Scientists warn that the delay of testing could soon begin to overload medical centers.

The number of coronavirus cases in Italy has spiraled from 600 to over 9,000 in just 11 days. Meanwhile, the U.S. has seen 729 COVID-19 cases to date, raising the risk of a large-scale epidemic.

Why did coronavirus spread so fast in Italy, and what’s similar with the U.S.?

Coronavirus can become significantly more contagious in areas that have lacking precautionary measures in place.

In a city with overloaded medical centers, low coronavirus testing capacity, and generally low awareness of the virus, the infection rate of the virus can increase substantially through community spread.

As seen in Italy and South Korea, just one individual infected by coronavirus that goes diagnosed has the potential to affect more than a thousand people.

With a basic reproduction number (R0) ranging from 4 to 12, one person affected by coronavirus can infect 12, 12 can infect 144, and 144 can impact 1,728 people in a short period of time.

The highly contagious nature of coronavirus was what led the cruise ship in Japan to record nearly 700 cases in merely weeks.

Currently, the U.S. is showing a general lack of awareness of the severity of the coronavirus epidemic.

CDC Medical Officer Satish Pillai confirmed the first U.S coronavirus infection on January 21, 2020. Today, the United States has 754 confirmed cases of the infection with 26 deaths. | Source: Jason Redmond / AFP

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only started to increase the capacity of coronavirus testing in early March, while South Korea, China, and Italy have been testing hundreds of thousands of people since February.

Author Mikel Jollett warned that the coronavirus outbreak has grown exponentially in many regions and the difficult process of being tested for the virus.

Jollett said:

On February 27th, Italy had 600 people infected with coronavirus. Today, it has 10,000 cases and the entire country is on lockdown. That was 11 days ago. Guess how many the US has right now: 600. That is exponential growth. Do the math.

The difference between the common flu and coronavirus is the special type of equipment it is required to treat the virus.

When infected with coronavirus, patients suffer with lung diseases, making respirators a necessity to treat patients.

When medical centers are overcrowded, hospitals start to run out of respirators, and staff started to get overworked, it the becomes challenging to contain the virus.

Jollett added:

To those saying, ‘We’re young and healthy so we will be fine,’ I want say 2 things: 1. Older people matter as much as you and I know some I love very much. 2. 10-20% of all infected end up in the hospital and if we run out of ICU beds and respirators, no, you will not be fine.

Similar issues have been raised by prominent medical experts like former Stanford professor Balaji Srinivasan, who pointed out that when China had around 700 confirmed patients, it locked down the entire city of Wuhan and began to build temporary hospitals.

Wuhan in China is at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. | Source: Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP

Times of extreme uncertainty

According to Srinivasan, the decision of the CDC to delay tests and the reluctance towards increasing testing capacity essentially replaced diagnostics with deaths.

“As local hospitals suddenly get filled with people suffering & passing from bilateral interstitial pneumonia, it’ll become undeniable even if ‘undiagnosed,'” he said.

The U.S. is yet to see overloaded medical centers that can cause a local epidemic to break out, but scientists are issuing dire warnings on the potential of it.

This article was edited by Samburaj Das.

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Last modified: March 10, 2020 8:24 AM UTC

Joseph Young @iamjosephyoung

Financial analyst based in Seoul, South Korea. Contributing regularly to CCN and Forbes. I have covered the stock market and bitcoin since 2013.

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