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Corona Virus — darkness in China. The West waits while reports come that a mild illness may progress badly

Posted By Jo Nova On February 9, 2020 @ 6:21 pm In Health,Microbiology | Comments Disabled

One day ago, the statistics were looking good but there have been a few ominous shifts. Another 26 infections have been recorded, some in a French ski chalet, some in Singapore –at least three of which are hard to explain. These appear to be transmissions outside China, which is what we are hoping to avoid. It’s bad, but could have been a lot worse. Fortunately the Diamond Princess tally hasn’t risen much — standing at 64. Another plus — it’s almost two weeks since one passenger on a Tiger Air flight in Australia flew as he was coming down with symptoms yet the other 157 passengers appear to be OK. Promising.


Just 2% of cases so far are severe outside China (but that may grow)

The all important statistics outside of China are starting to accrue — So far there are 355 infections. Of those, 35 have recovered and only eight are marked as severe (see the table below). It’s good news that only 2% are severe, however it’s too soon to know — 90% are still unwell.

The illness appears to be less severe outside China, but a new study reports that this virus often looks benign to start with. It begins with a mix of mild symptoms that can look like the common cold, or resemble gastro. But some patients go on to develop breathing trouble five days later, and may need the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) by day 8. Sometimes people get released from medical care, but then have to return the next week. So not only must we wait 14 days for the incubation period, there may be another 8 days (or more) before we know how many will need emergency life support and we can begin to calculate the fatality rate. Unfortunately that means there may be a sting in this tail coming. We can’t take too much comfort in all the early reports of mild effects. Though we hope that the outcome in the West will be different due to a better resourced medical system that is not overwhelmed with an unmanageable case load, and other local factors.

New Report on 138 Coronavirus Cases Reveals Disturbing Details

New York Times

Reporting on Friday in JAMA, the authors said their data suggested that rapid person-to-person spread of the virus had occurred among their cases. That was in part because of patients like the one admitted to the surgical department, whose symptoms misled doctors into suspecting other illnesses and failing to take precautions to prevent spread of the virus until it was too late.

About 10 percent of the patients did not initially have the usual symptoms, cough and fever, but instead had diarrhea and nausea first. Other uncommon symptoms included headache, dizziness and abdominal pain.

Another cause for concern was that some patients who at first appeared mildly or moderately ill then took a turn for the worse several days or even a week into their illness. The median time from their first symptoms to when they became short of breath was five days; to hospitalization, seven days; and to severe breathing trouble, eight days.

For this series of patients, the death rate was 4.3 percent.

China’s National Health Commission has given the virus a temporary official name – novel coronavirus pneumonia, or NCP.South China Morning Post

In other news, it’s been confirmed CoronaVirus can spread via aerosol — like Influenza. That makes it easier to spread that just via contact, or respiratory droplet, though these are still described as the main routes. Protection from this means well fitted respiratory masks, 6 feet spacing between people, increasing ventilation and air flow, negative pressure rooms, and also goggles to protect eyes. It means cancelling large events in at risk populations for the moment. See the CDC recommendations.

Something truly awful is going on in China. Dip into #coronavirus

People are being chased down the road by “medical teams”, dragged forcibly into quarantine. A woman in an apartment tower yells for help, “my husband is dying. There is no way out”. Officials carry guns, and there are frightening videos of them welding doors shut and locking people inside their homes. But I can’t find footage of deliveries of food and medicine to trapped citizens. This is not what people do in “a flu season”, they’re acting like it’s the plague.

There are reports, allegedly from within Wuhan hospitals that hundreds of patients a day are being classified as  “pnumonic”, not as coronavirus. “Daily removes pnumonic patients to not return, whole sections of hospital, 200 rooms each and not recorded. They are filled immediately with new pnumonic. Please know we are trying but there is simply too much…. would post more photo but other workers here and typing this under table…”

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———— Sulphur dioxide emissions are highest from the two worst affected cities in China.





For a lighter moment, see one resident singing from a balcony doing his own concert for other people waving torches. He’s wearing the US flag. Is this China’s free speech revolution? See others wearing full-body inflatable cartoon characters as a way of protecting themselves against viruses. Comic but tragic.


Concert in virus locked China.

Concert from a balcony

If I were ruler of the world I’d be closing borders and sitting tight for a few weeks

We’ll know so much more then. The cost of quarantine is enormous, but the cost of getting this wrong will be counted in “millions” — and that’s not dollars. If we wait to find out how serious this is, it could be too late to stop it. The recent UK / France outbreak has come via Singapore, so we know there is a risk from even well managed nations which are taking precautions. After a few weeks, borders can be opened again on a case by case basis with “clean nations”. This means people can confidently organize tours, conferences, holidays and weddings without fear of them being cancelled at short notice.  A mandatory two week quarantine would be essential with nations that had outbreaks.


The Coronavirus and The Flu are not the same

Wired Magazine pushes back against the trite comparisons with the flu.

There are as many as 5 million severe cases of flu worldwide each year, and 650,000 deaths…

Call it “viral whataboutism.” … this mutant form of rhetoric has come into discussions of what could be a massive epidemiological threat. Is the new coronavirus something to worry about? Yeah, sure, but so’s the flu… and you don’t seem to care too much about that!

For goodness’ sake, stop. Yes, we know the flu is bad—no one likes the flu. But the gambit of positioning the influenza virus as the scarier of two foes is as dangerous as it is hackneyed.

…these whatabout statistics aren’t really meant to sharpen our vigilance around the flu, or even to encourage us toward higher rates of vaccination. They’re just supposed to calm us down…

Millions get the virus every year, and fewer than 0.1 percent of them perish from it. What’s the rate of death from the new coronavirus? No one can say for certain, but estimates have hovered at around 20 times the rate for influenza, or 2 percent.

The statistics Sunday — thanks to Worldometer.

The Diamond Princess tally is included in the Japanese numbers.

Country, Total Cases Feb-08 Total Total Total Region
Territory Cases Deaths Deaths Recovered Severe
China 37,198 2,652 811 2,693 6,188 Asia
Japan 90 4 4 Asia
Singapore 40 7 2 4 Asia
Thailand 32 7 10 1 Asia
Hong Kong 26 1 Asia
S. Korea 25 1 2 Asia
Taiwan 17 1 1 Asia
Malaysia 16 1 1 Asia
Australia 15 5 Oceania
Germany 14 Europe
Vietnam 13 3 Asia
USA 12 3 N.America
France 11 5 1 Europe
Macao 10 1 Asia
U.A.E. 7 Asia
Canada 7 N.America
U.K. 3 Europe
Philippines 3 1 Asia
Italy 3 2 Europe
India 3 Asia
Russia 2 Europe
Sweden 1 Europe
Sri Lanka 1 1 Asia
Spain 1 Europe
Nepal 1 Asia
Finland 1 1 Europe
Cambodia 1 1 Asia
Belgium 1 Europe
Total outside China 355 26 35 8 0
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