Death toll due to Coronavirus outbreak in China has touched 170, with more than 7,711 cases reported within the country. The figures have a seen a spontaneous rise since the past 24 hours and represent an increase of 38 deaths and 1,737 cases. Of the new deaths, 37 were in the epicenter of the outbreak in Hubei province and one in the southwestern province of Sichuan. The news comes as the 195 Americans evacuated from Wuhan, the Hubei province city of 11 million where the outbreak originated, are undergoing three days of testing and monitoring at a Southern California military base to make sure they do not show signs of the virus.
World health officials expressed “great concern” Wednesday that the virus is starting to spread between people outside of China. The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak. For a second day, the number of infections grew dramatically.
The new virus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak. On Wednesday, the number of cases jumped to 5,974, surpassing the 5,327 people diagnosed with SARS.
In a report published Wednesday, Chinese researchers suggested that person-to-person spread among close contacts occurred as early as mid-December.
Based on the first 425 confirmed cases, the researchers estimate that each infection led to 2.2 others on average. That’s a bit more than ordinary flu but far less than some other respiratory diseases such as whooping cough and tuberculosis.
The rate for SARS, a cousin to this new virus, was estimated to be 3.
More than half of the cases in which symptoms began before January 1 were tied to a seafood market, but only 8 per cent of cases after that have been, researchers found. They reported the average incubation period was five days.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief said the few cases of human-to-human spread of the virus outside China — in Japan, Germany, Canada and Vietnam — were of “great concern” and were part of the reason the U.N. health agency’s director-general was reconvening a committee of experts on Thursday to assess whether the outbreak should be declared a global emergency.
Dr. Michael Ryan spoke at a news conference in Geneva after returning from a trip to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior government leaders. He said China was taking “extraordinary measures in the face of an extraordinary challenge” posed by the outbreak.
To date, about 99 per cent of the nearly 6,000 cases are in China. Ryan estimated the death rate of the new virus at 2 per cent, but said the figure was very preliminary. With fluctuating numbers of cases and deaths, scientists are only able to produce a rough estimate of the fatality rate and it’s likely many milder cases of the virus are being missed.
In comparison, the SARS virus killed about 10% of people who caught it. The new virus is from the coronavirus family, which includes those that can cause the common cold as well as more serious illnesses such as SARS and MERS.
(With agency inputs)