Coronavirus 2020

Written by  //  February 13, 2020  //  China, Health & Health care  //  No comments

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) advice for the public:
Myth busters

China: government and governance 2016-20

(WHO) Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.  Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Coronavirus Cases Seemed to Be Leveling Off. Not Anymore.
On Thursday, health officials in China reported more than 14,000 new cases in Hubei Province alone. A change in diagnostic criteria may be the reason.
(NYT) The sharp rise in reported cases illustrates how hard it has been for scientists to grasp the extent and severity of the coronavirus outbreak in China, particularly inside the epicenter, where thousands of sick people remain untested for the illness.
Confronted by so many people with symptoms and no easy way to test them, authorities appear to have changed the way the illness is identified. It is not uncommon for scientists to refine diagnostic criteria as their understanding of a new disease changes. But when the criteria are changed, experts said, it makes little sense to continue to make week-over-week comparisons. “It sounds simplistic, but it’s so very important — what numbers are you counting?” said Dr. Schaffner, the infectious disease specialist.
Scientists have been wary of the notion that the epidemic has peaked for other reasons, as well.
Unlike MERS and SARS, both diseases caused by coronaviruses, the virus spreading from China appears to be highly contagious, though it is probably less often fatal.
China reports record increase in coronavirus deaths
(Reuters) – The Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in deaths and thousands more infections using a broader definition on Thursday, while Japan became the third place outside mainland China to suffer a fatality.
12 February
Coronavirus is the first true social media “infodemic”
Social media has zipped information and misinformation around the world at unprecedented speeds, fueling panic, racism… and hope.
(MIT Technology Review) On February 2, the World Health Organization dubbed the new coronavirus “a massive ‘infodemic,’” referring to ”an overabundance of information—some accurate and some not—that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” It’s a distinction that sets the coronavirus apart from previous viral outbreaks. While SARS, MERS, and Zika before it all caused global panic, fears around the coronavirus have been especially amplified by social media. It has allowed viral disinformation to spread and flourish at unprecedented speeds, creating an environment of heightened uncertainty that has fueled anxiety and racism in-person and online.
But as much as social media has perpetuated disinformation, it has been an important source of verified information as well. Journalists around the world have used Chinese social media to gain a more accurate picture of the situation and gathered and archived verified reports for posterity. The volume of personal anecdotes and reports that circulate everyday about the ground truth in China has also pressured the government to release more accurate characterizations about the crisis.

11 February
As Coronavirus Stifles China, Economic Logjams Build Worldwide
A tumble in commodity markets reflects the spreading ripples of an outbreak.
(NYT) In Australia, after hauling hundreds of thousands of tons of iron ore to China, returning freighters can face a 14-day quarantine before being able to reload.
BHP, which has headquarters in London and Melbourne and is one of the world’s largest copper mining companies, has been in talks to possibly delay shipments to Chinese ports.
And from Qatar to Indonesia, exporters of liquefied natural gas face the prospect of disrupted shipments after a crucial importer in China is reportedly turning back deliveries after invoking clauses in long-term contracts that blame a “greater force.”
The coronavirus outbreak in China has generated economic waves that are rocking global commodities markets and disrupting the supply networks that act as the backbone of the global economy.
The Illness Now Has a Name, COVID-19
The World Health Organization said it had chosen a name for the disease that makes no reference to places, animals or people to avoid stigma.

6-10 February
Cruise ship coronavirus infections double, exceeding the total for any country but China
(WaPo) The number of people with coronavirus on a cruise ship in the port of Yokohama nearly doubled to 135 Monday, prompting imperiled crew members to plead for help and setting off debate among experts over whether the more than 3,700 people quarantined aboard should be taken ashore or left on the ship.
Unlike passengers, crew members are not housed in individual staterooms, but are living as many as four to a room. They also are traversing the ship delivering meals, which increases their contact with other people and raises the chances of becoming infected.

Bloomberg: On Jan. 3, police in Wuhan, China, summoned a local physician to deliver an official “admonition.” Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, had alerted his colleagues in a private WeChat group to a SARS-like virus being passed from human to human… His post had leaked to the wider internet, and he stood accused of “rumor-mongering,” a potentially career-threatening charge.
Li is now dead, struck down by the coronavirus he sought to warn about. His mother and father are hospitalized with fever. Tens of thousands of Wuhan residents have been sickened and, since the city sits at the central crossroads of China—a hub of rail, road and river transport—the virus has spread all over the country and to the rest of the world.

Coronavirus travel restrictions are the wrong approach – here’s why
Travel bans have limited effectiveness in managing the spread of disease, and some big drawbacks
Dr. Vivek Goel, founding head of Public Health Ontario, set up in response to the SARS crisis, and is currently a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and vice-president of research, innovation and strategic initiatives at U of T.
(CBC Opinion) When the emergency committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” on Jan. 31, it also made clear it “does not recommend any travel or trade restriction.”
Nonetheless, the United States moved quickly to bar all non-U.S. citizens from entering the country if they had recently traveled to China. At least 20 countries have imposed similar measures, including Australia, New Zealand, India, Israel, the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea.
The moves may be driven by an overabundance of caution, fear, xenophobia, or a mix of these and other factors, but they aren’t supported by science or evidence-based public health best practices. … Given the speed at which viruses can spread, travel bans are usually too late to contain such outbreaks. Our resources should be invested in public-health control measures that are shown to work, based on evidence.

China Tightens Wuhan Lockdown in ‘Wartime’ Battle With Coronavirus
With infections doubling every four days and more than 600 deaths, China intensified its response in Wuhan, with house-to-house temperature checks and mass confinements at quarantine centers.

5 February
WHO probes Singapore meet linked to spread of virus
(Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has begun an investigation into three virus infections linked to an international business meeting in Singapore last month, heightening concerns about the spread of the disease outside China.
The cases linked to the meeting provide more evidence that the coronavirus is spreading through human-to-human contact outside China, which the WHO has said is deeply concerning and could signal a much larger outbreak.
New outbreak death toll nears 500, as confirmed cases pass 24,500, with majority of infections and deaths in China
(Al Jazeera)The virus has killed two people outside of mainland China, one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines. At least 25 countries have confirmed cases.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for greater solidarity among the international community, and criticised governments for being “well behind” in sharing data on virus cases.
Coronavirus a ‘new layer of uncertainty’ for economy: ECB’s Lagarde
The spread of the virus presents “a new layer of uncertainty” the the European economy, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde said.
“While the threat of a trade war between the United States and China appears to have receded, the coronavirus adds a new layer of uncertainty,” Lagarde said at a speech in Paris, putting the disease on the same level as “global risks” such as trade tensions and geopolitical flashpoints.
WHO: ‘No known effective’ treatments for new coronavirus
The World Health Organization (WHO) played down media reports of “breakthrough” drugs being discovered to treat people infected with the new coronavirus.

4 February
Laurie Garrett on Coronavirus: Racist Attitudes Could Aid & Abet the Spread of the Pandemic (a somewhat misleading headline as the interview focuses more on efforts in China to contain and treat the virus)
Officials say priority is to stop mild virus cases from getting worse
National Health Commission admits Wuhan lacked intensive care facilities at start of the outbreak, but more beds and staff have now been provided
And an epidemiologist says preliminary tests have shown two drugs, Arbidol and Darunavir, could effectively inhibit replication of the new strain
Coronavirus: China admits ‘deficiencies’ in response to virus
Chinese health officials confirmed the number of fatalities has reached 425, with over 20,400 people infected nationwide. Hong Kong has also reported a coronavirus death, bringing the total outside mainland China to two.

3 February
The New Coronavirus Is a Truly Modern Epidemic
New diseases are mirrors that reflect how a society works—and where it fails.
…the World Health Organization recently declared a “public-health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC)—a designation that it has used on five previous occasions, for epidemics of H1N1 swine flu, polio, Ebola, Zika, and Ebola again. The invocation of a PHEIC is a sign that the new coronavirus should be taken seriously—and as the sixth such invocation in a little more than a decade, it is a reminder that we live in an age of epidemics.
Temporary Ban of Foreign Nationals Traveling From Mainland China Per Novel Coronavirus Outbreak; Additional Countries Added To Travel Ban 3.0
(National Law Review) By Presidential Proclamation, dated January 31, 2020 and effective on February 2, 2020 at 5pm EST, the United States is suspending the entry of “foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus.” As a result, foreign nationals (of any nationality), other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, permanent residents and certain others, who have been residing in or traveled to Mainland China during the 14-day period preceding their request for admission to the United States will be denied entry. Also, on January 31, 2020, President Trump issued another Proclamation expanding the ongoing travel ban, pursuant to Executive Order 13780 of March 6, 2017, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States (Travel Ban 3.0), to include certain foreign nationals of the following six countries: Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
China Pledged to Build a New Hospital in 10 Days. It’s Close.
State news outlets reported that the 1,000-bed facility would accept patients from Monday even as construction workers raced to complete it.
Laurie Garrett on How Trump Has Sabotaged America’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
(Democracy Now) …the Trump administration, from the moment it came in, wanted to disband programs that were signature programs of the Obama administration. One of them had to do with global health security in response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which, as you know, was a very deadly outcome and involved three countries. The United States played a big role, including having our military on site in Liberia in support. And the Trump administration pretty much disbanded the entire program, got rid of the National Security Council’s special pandemic response unit, got rid of the equivalent in the Department of Homeland Security, cut the budget of the Centers for Disease Control, and, you know, we can go down a huge list. Even a program that is specifically aiming at protecting you and me, citizens inside the country, by beefing up the hospital capacities and training of local healthcare workers and public health leaders is running out of money and will be officially shut down in May, unless something happens.

2 February
Coronavirus fears trigger anti-China sentiment across the globe
(AP) A scary new virus from China has spread around the world. So has rising anti-Chinese sentiment, calls for a full travel ban on Chinese visitors and indignities for Chinese and other Asians.
Restaurants in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam have refused to accept Chinese customers. Indonesians marched near a hotel and called on Chinese guests there to leave. French and Australian newspapers face criticism for racist headlines. Chinese and other Asians in Europe, the United States, Asia and the Pacific complain of racism.
Coronavirus Pummels Wuhan, a City Short of Supplies and Overwhelmed
It is nearly impossible to get the care they need to treat, or even diagnose, the coronavirus, say residents at the crisis’ center.

31 January
New coronavirus deaths and cases in China reach record daily highs as epicentre Hubei province delivers new report
Confirmed cases rise to 11,791 nationally; death toll hits 259
Hubei province – the coronavirus outbreak’s epicentre – announced 45 new deaths and 1,347 new confirmed cases
(SCMP) Of the newly reported deaths in Hubei, 33 were in Wuhan, the province’s capital and a major Chinese transit hub, where the first cases of the coronavirus were identified, according to data published by the Hubei Health Commission.
As of Friday, Hubei had 7,153 confirmed cases, with 36,838 still under observation for infection, according to the provincial health authority. Some 956 individuals with the illness are in “severe” condition and 338 are in “critical” condition.
Authorities in China’s coronavirus epicentre of Hubei province reported 45 new deaths from the illness and 1,347 new confirmed cases on Saturday, both daily record highs.
According to the National Health Commission in Beijing, 11,791 cases have been confirmed in China’s 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions as of Friday. The new deaths have brought the nationwide death toll to 259.
Of the newly reported deaths in Hubei, 33 were in Wuhan, the province’s capital and a major Chinese transit hub, where the first cases of the coronavirus were identified, according to data published by the Hubei Health Commission.
As of Friday, Hubei had 7,153 confirmed cases, with 36,838 still under observation for infection, according to the provincial health authority. Some 956 individuals with the illness are in “severe” condition and 338 are in “critical” condition.
Underscoring the apparent ease with which the illness may be spreading, a recent statement by the government of Xinyu, a city in Jiangxi province – which is adjacent to Hubei – said 17 new cases have been confirmed in the city, and that 15 of them were infected by a single person. The statement has continued to attract more attention since it was published on Thursday.
As the Chinese government scrambles to contain the outbreak, the contagion has spread to all of mainland China’s 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, as well as to at least 22 other countries.
China’s race to build temporary hospitals to fight coronavirus ‘too little too late’
Three makeshift facilities are under construction in Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak
But academic says they may be substandard, and specialist treatment centres should already be in place
(SCMP) The two new facilities in Wuhan will provide another 2,300 beds and are expected to be ready next week. In Ezhou, the temporary hospital is expected to be completed in 10 days and will add 600 beds, according to the Hubei government.
Paper on human transmission of coronavirus sets off social media storm in China
Research based on first 425 cases in Wuhan finds disease was being spread among close contacts since mid-December
But that was only confirmed by health authorities on January 20, and internet users accuse them of withholding information

30 January
New coronavirus an international public health emergency, WHO declares
(Global) The World Health Organization has declared an outbreak of a new coronavirus from Wuhan, China, to be a public health emergency of international concern.
WHO officials made the announcement Thursday following an emergency committee meeting of health experts on the virus. … the number of confirmed cases has exploded to over 8,000, with 170 confirmed deaths. Cases have been reported in 21 other countries, including Canada, which has three confirmed cases of the virus.

28 January
Coronavirus Live Updates: Death Toll Climbs, and So Does the Number of Infections
Officials also announced that after repeated offers of assistance, Chinese authorities agreed on Tuesday to allow in teams of international experts, coordinated by the World Health Organization, to help with research and containment.
China put 46 million people on lockdown to contain the Wuhan coronavirus. But quarantines throughout history have been riddled with mishaps
(Business Insider) In 1348, Venice established the first official quarantine system in order to keep the bubonic plague, or “Black Death” from spreading through its ports. A Venetian council was given the authority to prevent ships, cargo, and people suspected of infection from entering the city for 40 days.
During this time, the city built a holding center on an island off the coast, where infected individuals were sent to either wait out their 40 day trial, or die. This isolation period became known as quarantinario, taken from the Italian word for 40. Thus, the first official “quarantine” was born.
We Made the Coronavirus Epidemic
It may have started with a bat in a cave, but human activity set it loose.
By David Quammen, author of “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.”
(NYT) Long term: We must remember, when the dust settles, that nCoV-2019 was not a novel event or a misfortune that befell us. It was — it is — part of a pattern of choices that we humans are making.

27 January
The Truth About “Dramatic Action”
by Da Shiji
(China Media Project) At 2AM on January 23, authorities in Wuhan suddenly issued the order to close off the city. According to the order, from 10AM that same day, all public buses, subways, ferries, long-distance buses and other transport services would be suspended; the airport and train stations would be shuttered. At this point, the WHO might have had reservations about the necessity and effectiveness of this strategy – but in any case, is was irreversible, and it would soon extend to neighboring cities as well.
In less than two days, up to noon on January 24, a total of 14 cities in Hubei province would be brought into the quarantine zone.
China’s capacity to impress with such grand gestures calls to mind talk of the “Chinese miracle,” often used to describe the performance of the country’s economy over four decades. But is it fair to regard this case of large-scale quarantine also as a “Chinese miracle” in public health?
Everyone must understand, first of all, that this epidemic was allowed to spread for a period of more than forty days before any of the above-mentioned cities were closed off, or any decisive action taken. In fact, if we look at the main efforts undertaken by the leadership, and by provincial and city governments in particular, these were focused mostly not on the containment of the epidemic itself, but on the containment and suppression of information about the disease.
According to reports from Caixin Media, one of China’s leading professional news outlets, the entire situation began on December 8, with the discovery of the first known case of an infected patient in Wuhan, a stall operator from the Huanan Seafood Market.
The period from December 8 to December 31 was a crucial 23-day period. During this time, scientists in China were not in fact idle, but raced against the clock trying to trace the virus – and their performance was remarkable. Meng Xin, a researcher at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has since disclosed:
“So originally they [NOTE: Meng is referring here to the government] had one ace card in their hand. My colleagues worked hard through the night, and within one week had managed to: successfully isolate the disease, sequence the coronavirus genome, and confirmed the origin of the disease. In less than two weeks, they had developed test reagents and had distributed them to provincial CDCs, and they had reviewed anywhere from dozens to hundreds of specimens from Wuhan (the specific number is still unknown), actions that would earn unanimous praise from international colleagues and the World Health Organization, and that would save precious time in the prevention and control of the epidemic.”
Meng is referring here specifically to the actions taken by scientists in Beijing. But Shanghai scientists were not far behind. According to a report in Health News, the official publication of China’s National Health Commission, the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center  had isolated a new strain of coronavirus by January 5, within just 10 days of its receiving samples from patients in Wuhan on December 26, and scientists at the center had obtained the entire genome sequence.

China coronavirus: thousands left Wuhan for Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore or Tokyo before lockdown
But more travelled only as far as neighbouring Henan province
Over 4,000 people from Wuhan remain outside mainland China, as authorities call for help to accommodate them on their return
Fears of a global pandemic were raised by the number of people leaving Wuhan in the 24 days between the first cases of infection being reported on December 30 and the decision to suspend travel out of the city on Thursday.
China’s Building a Hospital in 10 Days
AD speaks to Gensler, a world leader in hospital and health care design, on what Chinese officials must do to ensure that their rushed hospital design can keep the the deadly coronavirus in check
The goal is to have the hospital completed on Monday, February 3. Though the building is being called a hospital, it certainly won’t be a traditional one. “The hospital is intended to isolate people with the coronavirus,” says James Crispino, global health and wellness practice area leader and principal at Gensler. “Since that’s its only purpose, it is not a hospital in the conventional sense. This hospital will have assessment and triage capabilities, some imaging capabilities, a clinical laboratory, a pharmacy, and isolation rooms—but not much else.”
The death toll from a coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 81, as the government extended the Lunar New Year holiday and more big businesses shut down or told staff to work from home in an effort to curb the spread. Malaysia imposed a temporary ban on Chinese nationals arriving from the city of Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province to stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Residents of China’s Hubei province will be also banned from entering Hong Kong from Monday as China tries to halt the rapid spread of the outbreak. Here are more facts on the virus, called 2019-nCoV, which can be transmitted among humans and belongs to the same coronavirus family as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
As Coronavirus Fears Intensify, Effectiveness of Quarantines Is Questioned
Amid news the coronavirus is spreading at an accelerating rate, concern is growing that China’s lockdown of cities may not only have come too late but could even make the situation worse.
(NYT) A top Chinese health official warned on Sunday that the spread of the deadly new coronavirus, already extraordinarily rapid, could accelerate further, deepening global fears about an illness that has sickened more than 2,000 people worldwide and killed at least 80 people in China. Adding to the growing alarm, the official, Ma Xiaowei, the director of China’s National Health Commission, said that people carrying the virus but not showing symptoms could still infect others. The incubation period, he added, can vary from one to 14 days, with a typical duration of about 10 days. Such asymptomatic transmission would represent a major difference between the new respiratory disease and SARS, which killed 800 people in China and around the world nearly two decades ago. “The epidemic is now entering a more serious and complex period,” Mr. Ma said during a news conference in Beijing. “It looks like it will continue for some time, and the number of cases may increase.” In China, it was a weekend of grim new warnings about the little-understood virus and a rising tally of infections and deaths. The official number of confirmed infections across China jumped by half within a span of 24 hours, building to 1,975 on Sunday from around 1,300 on Saturday morning.
26 January
Fourth coronavirus case confirmed in U.S., 1,000 more cases expected in China
Health authorities in China are struggling to deal with a skyrocketing infection rate in the country of the new coronavirus, with the number of cases increasing 50 percent in just 24 hours.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has warned of an “accelerating spread” of the coronavirus, adding to worries about the scope of a health crisis that has claimed at least 56 lives and triggered emergency health measures in cities across China.
More than 50 million people were ordered on lockdown in central China, with a travel ban covering 16 cities in the central Hubei province, where the virus was first encountered. Here’s what we know:
● The third and fourth confirmed infections in the United States were announced this weekend, both residents of Wuhan traveling through Southern California. Infections also have been confirmed in France, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and Australia. We’re mapping the spread here.

What is the coronavirus and how worried should we be?
What are the symptoms caused by the virus from Wuhan in China, how does it relate to Sars, and at what point should you go to the doctor?
It is a novel coronavirus – that is to say, a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals. Many of those infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of the Chinese city, which also sold live and newly slaughtered animals. New and troubling viruses usually originate in animal hosts. Ebola and flu are examples.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers) are both caused by coronaviruses that came from animals. Although Mers is believed to be transmitted to humans from dromedaries, the original hosts for both coronaviruses were probably bats. There are suspicions now that the new coronavirus may have originated in bats or snakes, and possibly then was transmitted to humans via an intermediary species
The virus causes pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work. If people are admitted to hospital, they may get support for their lungs and other organs as well as fluids. Recovery will depend on the strength of their immune system. Many of those who have died are known to have been already in poor health.

24 January
The Wuhan coronavirus has hit Xinjiang, where China has imprisoned at least 1 million Uighur Muslims. Its filthy detention camps will make inmates sitting ducks.
What we know so far about the coronavirus outbreak
Death toll stands at 26 and 1,000-bed hospital being built in Wuhan to deal with outbreak is due to open next week
The Chinese government has restricted the movement of about 33 million people with an unprecedented and indefinite lockdown after the virus originated in the city of Wuhan.
The World Health Organization’s emergency committee has concluded it’s “too early” to declare an international public health emergency, but says the situation is still to be considered an emergency in China. “It has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one,” said the WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
A first version of a vaccine could start trials in the summer, but it will be close to year before vaccines are available publicly from drugs companies, one expert said at he World Economic Forum in Davos.

23 January
Scientists Scrutinize New Coronavirus Genome for Answers
(The Scientist) As of today (January 23), 18 people have died from a newly identified coronavirus, and more than 630 have been infected. Airports are screening passengers coming from at-risk regions. Public celebrations of the Lunar New Year have been cancelled in several Chinese cities. China has stopped trains and other transportation leaving Wuhan, where the infections originated, and restricted travel within the city and neighboring areas. The World Health Organization (WHO) held a conference today to discuss the travel bans and other precautions related to the new disease, currently being called 2019-nCoV, a respiratory virus with characteristics similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from 2003.
As public health officials respond in real-time to the unfolding of the outbreak, so too are scientists. Just one month after the first case of the pneumonia-causing virus was reported on December 8, Chinese scientists sequenced the viral genome and made it public. Now, researchers around the globe are scrutinizing the sequence for insight into this mystery disease.
“It really is an amazing feat that they got these sequences out as quickly as they did,” says Vineet Menachery, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch who has studied the new genome. That speed, he notes, stands in contrast with the SARS outbreak, in which “for many months, it was not known that there was an outbreak.”

Johns Hopkins: 2019 novel coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, a city in China, in December 2019. Although health officials are still tracing the exact source of this new coronavirus, early hypotheses thought it may be linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, China. Some people who visited the market developed viral pneumonia caused by 2019 novel coronavirus. A study that came out on Jan. 25, 2020, notes that the individual with the first reported case became ill on Dec. 1, 2019, and had no link to the seafood market. Investigations are ongoing as to how this virus originated and spread.This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person to person.

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