China, the origin of the 2020 influenza outbreak.

China has confirmed 2051 people are infected with the coronavirus as of 7 pm today, January 26, 2020. 56 people in China have died because of this disease. No fatalities have been reported outside China. This strain of influenza appears to be more easily transmitted from human to human than known last week. The incubation period has been identified as 1-14 days. Unfortunately, it appears that the contagion can be passed along to another person during any of these days.

China has quarantined almost 60 million people and shut down transportation systems, and many places where people congregate. There is a total ban on the sale of any wildlife. Additionally, the disruption of the Lunar New Year celebrations (and related big events) is having a huge social and economic impact. The United States is evacuating diplomatic staff and US citizens from Wuhan, China. Japan is following suit to remove their people.

How dangerous is this outbreak? Still to be determined according to many health professionals. Ma Xiaowei, China’s National Health Commission Minister, stated that the infection can occur during the first two weeks of exposure. SARS, the 2003 epidemic that killed nearly 800 was not as easily passed from one person to another. Ma told reporters, “According to recent clinical information, the virus’ ability to spread seems to be getter somewhat strong.”

Chinese officials identified ground zero at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. They believe the likely source of influenza came from wild animal sales, most likely the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra. Some scientists think it might have originated from bats and infected the snakes. The mystery of possible transference between cold-blooded and warm-blooded hosts remain unsolved.

Most of the 30 people who have died in Wuhan were elderly or suffering from pre-existing health problems. A recent story identified 14 doctors and nurses operating on a patient who was not symptomatic of the coronavirus. All were infected. This is raising alarms in many health treatment facilities.

The first reported case of this strain of influenza was December 8, 2019. By January 26, 2020, 2051 people have been confirmed with the illness and 56 have died. Compare that to the 2003 SARS epidemic which ran from November 2002 till July 2003 in which nearly 8100 cases were confirmed, and 774 deaths were reported. The death rate for 2013 was 9.6%. the current death rate after less than two months is 2.8%.

The virus has spread to 13 countries. Wuhan is a major train and aviation hub. There are more than 60 international flights from Wuhan’s Tianhe International Airport to the rest of the world

The Good: China is reacting properly to stop the spread of the disease.

The Bad: The virus’ ability to go from one person to another is fasting than originally thought.

The Ugly: The epidemic is spreading faster than it can be contained.

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