The recent outbreak of the coronavirus has caused global panic, leading to hundreds of people getting infected all around the world.
Emerging in Wuhan, a central city in China, a ‘mysterious’ virus, led to several hospitalizations within a short span of time. Identified as a type of coronavirus by the world health organization, the pathogen is a new mutated strain that has never been seen before.
So far, the virus has spread to numerous Chinese cities and over 8 countries, with a death toll of 258 and over 10,000 reported cases.
Coronavirus is a branch of viruses that commonly cause illnesses in birds and animals. However, sometimes, several mutations can lead to the virus gaining the ability to transfer to humans. This may cause a range of different diseases that have never been seen before. Two such cases were of SARS – severe acute respiratory syndrome, and MERS – Middle East respiratory syndrome. A SARS outbreak in 2002-2003 led to around 800 deaths.
Typically, a coronavirus infection causes diarrhea in pigs and “upper respiratory distress” in chickens, however, symptoms in humans can range from a common cold to severe respiratory problems that might prove fatal. There are no antiviral drugs available for its treatment yet.
They symptoms may take up to two weeks to present themselves, and include “fever, cough, flu, and shortness of breath”. In some cases, they might lead to death.
The virus outbreak has led to a “severe health crisis in China”. It was initially discovered after several cases of pneumonia were reported in Wuhan. The fever seemed to have no particular cause and was resistant to the available medicines.
The infection was contagious and spread from one person to the other via coughing. The number of patients escalated due to the lack of preventative measures initially, however, it’s still spreading with over 10,000 cases worldwide.
In a span of 30 days, the virus has made its way to “several countries across Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific. As of January 29, there were still only five known cases in the US: Chicago, IL; Everett, WA; Maricopa County, AZ; and two in Los Angeles.”
Around 20 Chinese cities have been in a lock-down or a “soft quarantine” hindering the activities of around 56 million people. Wuhan is currently working on building two new, fully equipped hospitals from scratch, with over 2500 beds to cater to the increasing number of patients.
Given the growth rate of the patients, it doesn’t seem like it will take long before the toll reached 100,000. As per Bianco Research in Chicago, “the geometric rate of transmission (about 53% daily) where every infected person can infect 2 to 2.5 people, we could be looking at 88,000 sick by February 3 and 315,000 till by Feb 6.”
Based on his analysis of China National Health Commission data, Jim Bianco, CEO and President of Bianco Research, has been making regular tweets about the current situation. “On January 27, he built a graph with the “hard” quarantined number at just over 44,000 and posed the question ‘Are people under quarantine the inventory for future infection growth?’ ”