As Coronavirus Explodes in China, Countries Struggle to Control Its Spread

The time to prevent more epidemics is now, and countries are trying to seize the moment.

Comments: 34

  1. The virus has a 2 week incubation period from the initial exposure. During that time it is reproducing, building up the virus population in your body. you become contagious before you become symptomatic. You share the virus without knowing it and the cycle begins again. You tell me if it can be stopped. Personally, I do not believe so. History bears that out. If it is spread by coughing, person to person, then no. it cannot be stopped. The masks they sell in the drugstores are designed to keep a person from spreading the disease. They do not keep somone from catching it.

  2. Thank you for an informative comment.

  3. @Allen82 The crux of the article was about its spread, not its mortality. No one has really addressed that. It would definitely appear that, at this time, The B type of flu that is going around is certainly more lethal. None of them are something to sneeze at. Besides, mutations could change everything. What I would like to see is that Vaccine that broke last year. I am guessing that the pharmaceutical industry bought that patent and put it to bed. No more annual flu shots, are you kidding)))

  4. @Allen82 Negative on that “blown out of proportion”. Though this virus is less pathogenic than SARS or MERS, the potential of it spreading exponentially by mildly sick or asymptomatic carriers is a grave risk according to the NEJM.

  5. @the doctor Respectfully, your stated position would justify closing the US borders and shutting down transportation from the US to all other countries because of the certainty of spreading the Common Flu in all forms. We are on the brink of hysteria based upon the spread of a strain that may simply be equivalent to the common flu.

  6. @Allen82 No responsible health expert would countenance hysteria or advise closing borders. What is basically needed is to aggressively identify carriers and isolate and treat them before this virus escapes into the general population.

  7. "Aggressive measures in the USA?" My Chinese girlfriend just flew form Beijing to Washington, DC. Nobody at American Airlines screened or questioned her or others before boarding, and nobody in IAD airport screened them when they arrived in Washington, DC (including immigration/customs not asking which countries in China she had visited).

  8. @Jeff Kerzner I hope you don’t see her for two weeks.

  9. @Jeff Kerzner TSA did search her and her carryons for extra liquid and other things. TSA also body scan everyone so noone can conceal-carrying a nail clipper. What more do you want?

  10. Stop calling it coronavirus! There are thousands of coronaviruses! Only 6, now 7, have crossed to human infection. Give this one a name specific to this virus. They just discovered it, it was in Wuhan, call it the Wuhan virus but stop calling it coronavirus. It's irresponsible public health. As to whether it can be contained - no, it cannot be contained because too many people travel around the world AND it has a two-week incubation before you're symptomatic. Unless you're going to shut down the entire Globe for 2 weeks to stop the spread, it is going to take off. WASH. YOUR. HANDS! Best thing you can do - aside from staying home for 2 weeks if you've been exposed. Media driven panic is just irresponsible. Inform. Educate. But stop scaremongering & passing incorrect information. Pax.

  11. @Mara C If you pay attention to the header for the news about the virus, the NYT has labelled it "Wuhan Coronavirus". In the "latest updates" section, they mention that scientists are calling it 2019-nCoV.

  12. @Mara C Well stated. Thank you

  13. @Meg Thank you Meg, the correct name is 2019-nCoV

  14. The article is complementary about China’s response to the virus. Another view that is much more critical of China’s initial response at the local level at least can be found on You Tube at this link. Coronavirus-The Lies and the Truth. I cannot say which view is more correct, but time should tell.

  15. @Chad Brown Didn’t laowhy86 have to leave China because his stuff is often clickbait and non-factual? I used to follow his bike series

  16. @Chad Brown the world is lucky this virus appeared in China. The papers in Lancet and NEJM describe the methods of how they figured this virus was causing pneumonia and had the RNA sequence published incredibly quickly. They provided state of the art care, three patients were put on ECMO. They are doing controlled drug trials right now. The numbers they are reporting are the best they can do under the circumstances. They are not accurate, but they are not covering it up, they know it is blowing up. I doubt Americans would have responded so quickly. I know the cdc and most state health departments have competent people, but I expect Trump via Fox will make it all so much worse.

  17. Very smart moves on all countries involved. Why cannot we in the US just say quarantine instead of temporary housed; political correctness and emotions will end up getting us all infected by this or some other contagious virus.

  18. I thought this article was very rational in its approach. My take away is that we need much more research in emerging viral diseases. My questions would include: are there predictable genetic factors that predispose virus to cross species lines? If we are dealing with an influenza model does this virus have the variability of influenza, in other words will we need new vaccines each season or will it be one and done? Can we develop more and better antiviral drugs? I think this will require a partnership between government, academia and the pharmaceutical industry and will have great relevance not only for public health but also for our national defense. As we now see, the rapidity of modern global travel makes it very easy for viruses like this to spread worldwide. We need to develop global as well as national strategies to address these issues. Perhaps the United Nations and the WHO will be found to be relevant after all.

  19. The mortality rate of the infected is certainly higher than what the government admits. Chinese social media is flooded with tear-jerking reports from the fallen ones’ families. Many described the exact symptoms of the corona virus infection: coughing, fever and infected lungs showing white fiber-like texture. However, despite the imminent death of the patient, the doctor declared those were only “suspected” patients, claiming there was no test kit to confirm the diagnosis. Once the patient died, the body was rushed to be cremated, forever being deprived of a recognized death cause. There could be many reasons for the unfathomable “confirmation refusal” such as limited hospital resource, or reasons I would rather not go further. All in all, i plead the policy makers reconsidering the dire consequence of failing to control this disease.

  20. @Lion Don’t believe and don’t spread internet rumors. The Chinese social media you have access to are probably far from mainstream and in any case, unless you can read Chinese, you probably won’t be able to find article refuting those rumors.

  21. There are not rumors except you are one of the government’s agents. I read the original recounts of many suffered families, in Chinese. The government was quick to delete such recounts, despite the detailed pics and descriptions. See with your own eyes, think with your own mind.

  22. @Lion Did you use the same methodology you used to determine those rumors are real to determine I am a Chinese agent? If that’s the case, I think there is something wrong with your methodology.

  23. As a bystander in the US, I am very satisfied with Xi's response. I mean, building an entire hospital in two weeks! He was quick to control the spread of the disease, once the severity of it became apparent, by initiating an unprecedented quarantine of an entire large city. Only a communist government could get away with such a move but, it turns out, to have definitely been needed. Even with halting all public transportation in Wuhan, the virus still is spreading through China. I'm sure it's way, way less transmission than it could be, though, and, the rest of the world is certainly thankful to China's draconian response.

  24. @Ron A Did you say “quick to control the spread of the disease “. As the numbers multiplied at alarming rates, and it’s presence in all Chinese areas, you should reassess your comment. Thank you China for another disease gift to the world.

  25. @Ron A Wuhan was shut down AFTER millions had left! It might have been impressive for them to build a hospital in two weeks, but if they are so impressive, why did they let this pandemic start in the first place?

  26. @Doodle A virus is a thing of nature. No one wants it nor can control its coming to life. We can only avoid it. China clamped down on the spread of this coronavirus just as fast as it could- once the severity was known. It is unreasonable to expect the country to quarantine an entire city until it is a proven serious threat. The dribble of cases outside of China is tiny, as small as it could be. And, considering the enormity of China's population and their proximity to each other in housing, it is indeed a feat of amazing logistics to only have a few thousand infected so far. At least that's how I see it upon reading these stories.

  27. It’s now official. Humanity is facing a global health crisis according to the W.H.O. And that is in addition to the crisis faced by the world during a Trump presidency. How can it get worse? Keep reading the NYT.

  28. I think we need to shut down all travel from China immediately. There are cases where sub-clinical persons have transmitted this virus to other persons. Screening travelers coming off airplanes is simply a feel-good procedure and won’t stop the spread of the virus.

  29. A more lethal coronavirus would likely not spread as fast and quickly burn itself out because it kills the host reducing its rate of transmission. SARS and MERS are poorly adapted to use us as hosts. They lethal viruses severely trigger our immune response and the infected get noticed faster and placed into quarantine. This new virus is really much worse than SARS and MERS. This virus is much more likely to kill millions because it is a little less lethal making it easier to transmit. If 80% of infected people have common cold symptoms and will continue to spread it then it’s already over. Quarantine only removes the 20% that are seriously ill. Were the infected people in countries outside of China only discovered because they had been to China and started to feel sick? If they had not been to China then would they get tested? If there are not enough test kits, hospital beds or open roads to transport people in China then how will they identify new cases and know the efficacy of their mitigation strategies? What are the strategies and immunotherapy drugs that are effective at keeping that 3% alive? 6,000 people is a statistically significant sample size.

  30. The experts have said it, the best way to prevent spread of infection is distancing and isolation. Chinese people should stop travelling out of country until the epidemic subside. If they don't do it themselves, other countries should stop allowing them into their countries. Checking temperature before flight, after flight etc is futile since evidence have shown a high probability of infected people being contagious during the incubation period. Didn't the woman who was in Germany for a few days for work not symptomatic till she left Germany and nevertheless infected the Germans who worked with her? Whatever tourist or business dollars the non-Chinese think they may earn, they will spend more on healthcare if the new viral infect catch on in their countries. Moreover, no dollar value can compensate death.

  31. The US is struggling to control its spread by doing absolutely nothing to controls its spread. The US government chartered special planes to bring hundreds of citizens from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, to the United States. The plan to prevent the spread of this disease from those people into the general population? Three days of monitoring. Then they get to scatter all across the country. Why do we still have commercial flights from the US to China? We are doing NOTHING to stop the spread of this disease in the US. The Republicans are idiots and the Democrats are focused on their political shows and being woke.

  32. In a letter to the NEJM, Germany reports that an asymptotic person transmitted 2019- CoV. I think Trump is wrong, it isn’t going to be good for the USA. I’m most worried this administration is going to do everything wrong.