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.

Comments: 214

  1. THE NUMBER OF THE CORONA VIRUS CASES and related death has been accelerating. Let's just hope that we can dodge this bullet. Because if we can't, the uncontrolled fires in Australia will be a walk in the park compared to the 100s of millions who could potentially perish if the Corona virus turns into a pandemic. Worldwide the #1 priority MUST be the rapid development of a vaccine. It is more important than any weapons system, because a larger number of people will die in a global pandemic than from any weapon system. There may be a way to combine existing medications to speed up the process. Also, if a SARS vaccine has been developed, it could be the basis for streamlining the corona virus vaccine. The ebola virus became available after a year. Let's hope that a Corona Virus vaccine can beat or match that deadline!

  2. @John Jones Not nearly as much money in a vaccine/treatment that could save hundreds of millions as in some new weapon that could kill thousands. A sad commentary on our species.

  3. @John Jones National Cancer Institute’s budget for 2020 is $6.44 billion. Department of Defense’s budget is $738 billion. According to American Cancer Society, in 2019, there will be an estimated 1,762,450 new cancer cases diagnosed and 606,880 cancer deaths in the United States. If they won’t move for cancer they won’t move for COVID-19

  4. I don't believe this virus can be contained. As such, the experts should focus both on developing treatment processes and developing an effective vaccine as soon as possible.

  5. If the criteria for diagnosing or recording coronavirus cases change, of course the reported numbers of cases are going to change. Showing a sudden and substantial uptick in diagnosed cases based on different reporting criteria is a good example of comparing apples and oranges. Until the World Health Organization or some independent agency gets a look at the numbers and can verify them on an ongoing basis we must consider that any figures released by China are suspect.

  6. Not only are scans a poor proxy for testing the virus, it also only tests the very sick who arrive for treatment. Many become ill but don't need treatment and won't be tested either because of lack of tests. They need a better understanding of what differentiates those who become gravely ill, even die, vs the vast majority who don't.

  7. The first few reports from the Chinese government in this article contradict themselves. Outbreaks slowing and yet the number of reported cases leap by nearly 25%. This the problem of people more interested in their own political skin than the health of their fellow countrymen or even all humans.

  8. @mrprytania If the Chinese wants to report fake numbers why did they bother to lower the criteria needed to be considered “infected” and increase the numbers? The numbers from China are as accurate as it can be given the logistical constraints and will be refined as detection techniques improve.

  9. CT scan alone should not be the sole diagnostic tool for the Coronavirus. However, you will have to wonder why over 14000 people scan results with problems their lungs?

  10. Frankly, I'm surprised China, given its history, is reporting anything at all. But when I heard that two "citizen" journalists who had worked to alert the public to the dangers of the outbreak have "disappeared," I got much more concerned. The likelihood of the true nature of this outbreak being grossly under-reported by the Chinese Government is very, very high, even if they do manage to manufacture enough test kits soon. I really feel for all those poor people trapped there with fear of the disease in front of them and fear of the Government behind them (to paraphrase the words of one of those missing citizen journalists). I hope it is contained before it gets here because I seriously doubt this Administration is equipped to handle it either, and we know they'll try to cover it up, if it does become a problem.

  11. @Brannon Perkison Stop trying to spread humors and falsehoods. “Citizen journalists” are the same as YouTube conspiracists; “things the government don’t want you to know” The numbers from China is as accurate as the government can do given the logistical constants. While the original number is always underreported because there isn’t enough testing kits, the new method using CT scan will probably overreport because respiratory issues caused by other illness might be miscontributed to COVID-19. Simply put, using CT scan is a method of triage. It separates those that’s “infected & maybe infected” with those that are “not”. Not perfect but faster and easier than the previous “infected” and “not infected & we don’t know”

  12. @AmateurHistorian I'm not spreading rumors or conspiracies. The disappearance of these non-government reporters was reported by most major news outlets, including this one. That's not okay. They were reporting on conditions inside the zone and it is extremely alarming that the government of China sees fit to simply incarcerate people for this. The Chinese state media has a very long history of suppressing information, and if you believe their numbers are as accurate as they can be, I'd counter that that's really naive.

  13. @Brannon Perkison Do you have evidence to prove the numbers reported daily are not as accurate as it can be? If your “citizen journalists” peddled unfounded rumors in time of public health emergencies, they should be arrested

  14. Of course it’s not leveling off. The higher mortality and infection rate in Wuhan isn’t because Wuhan is just less lucky; rather it’s just because Wuhan is where it started and people have been infected for a longer time there. Evidence suggests that symptoms may not occur for 2 weeks after infection, with death another week or two later for those who can’t beat it. In other words, the spread has already occurred, we’re just now becoming aware of it. Expect a slow moving wave outward from Wuhan, with infection and death numbers climbing over the next few weeks.

  15. @Jim I agree.

  16. @Jim The time frame you cited did not take into account reinfection. While the study published 2 days ago gave the maximum incubation period at 24 days from study of 1000+ patients, it also stated it is an outlier and could be result of reinfection in the hospital.

  17. This seems to be an admission of (the obvious) undercounting, still likely still low, but a start. Had the officials released the the numbers using the new criteria for the previous week, we would have a better sense if the growth rate is slowing. This is good news/bad news. The fatality rate looks lower using the new number. The bad news is there lots of mild cases out there to infect those who will get the acute version.

  18. @Roba It is not an admission of anything. The daily number of “detected infections” are as accurate as it can be. Doctors can’t inflate numbers because they think there might be more or if they are out of testing kits. Where do you draw the line? Is 10% more a good guess, 300%? 1000%? Do you want your doctor to say “you might have cancer but I don’t have test result so you start chemo tomorrow”? Quoting myself “the new method using CT scan will probably overreport because respiratory issues caused by other illness might be miscontributed to COVID-19.”

  19. In about 82 percent of cases — including all 14 in the United States — symptoms have required little or no medical intervention. Source: CDC The case mortality rate is currently 2.16%. Source: CDC It is good to be cautious, but at some point people need to be provided assurance that this is not the Bubonic Plague.

  20. @Allen82 and outside of Hubei Province the mortality rate is 1/10 that reported in Hubei. The estimated number of people carrying the virus is likely exponentially more than the confirmed cases throughout China. And the confirmed cases now are including those symptomatic of the disease, not necessarily confirmed CV infections. In other words, the government is likely placing people with seasonal flu, - which kills probably 10k people per month in China this time of year - or other viruses into quarantine with people infected with Coronavirus.

  21. @Allen82 Coming from a tech background, I believe that those above are are playing the answer to that close to them, because there are important variables that can't be accounted for yet. China's most recent idea of mass location tracking via cell phones highlights one of the number of tools that the world is using to monitor the spread of a virus in real time, at the micro to macro level. And that data is undoubtedly being analyzed and plugged into advanced forecasting software. But country level factors such as NK, India, and parts of Africa to name a few, still seem to be hinging at least partially on China's ability to contain the virus. Also, a I imagine it has not been long enough to determine with certainty a major characteristic of the virus —persistence. In a time with less technology, those assurances may have already been provided.

  22. If the coronavirus were to gain a foothold in the US, how prepared are we to treat the large number of patients that would result?

  23. @William Franks We would be no better prepared than the Chinese. Our hospitals have been downsizing for decades. Most hospital have just enough beds to meet ongoing demand. The Chinese are better equipped than we are: They can build hospitals in a week. They can quarantine populations at will. Currently, they are locking up the sick and the suspected exposed and warehousing them without treatment. It is draconian but it's the most effective way of stopping this virus.

  24. We aren’t. I can’t even get my administration to address the lack of isolation rooms or the fact we haven’t had an infection control head in 8 months.

  25. @William Franks Visit your nearest public hospital’s ER and you’ll have your answer. It will be worse than the situation in China. The Chinese trust their government more than the American trust the USG so there will be more panic buying and social unrest here. Look at Hong Kong, student union pretending to be medical professionals and go on strike, 3 IEDs exploded at hospital and train station, backup quarantine cite torched by neighborhood, panic buying that caused face mask shortage for medical professionals, and tabloids running alarmist and rumors to drive readership.

  26. In short, we don't know, but we will find out. For the average person worrying about the disease, Numbers that yo-yo around don't help. So maybe--since we can do nothing to determine the true count, and about zero to affect it once we know it--we should just enjoy this day, symptom free, and wash our hands.

  27. This article says nothing. The cases were declining but then increased when the reporting criteria changed. So did the real number of cases decline or did they rise? My assumption is that new infections have decline significantly but this articles certainly doesn't answer the question.

  28. No offense, but from other photos, these patients, all lined up did not appear to be receiving any medical treatment that could not be administered at home - no IV’s, for example. Oral medication can be taken at home. Why not stay there and take the medication there. In addition - what is being done for urination and defecation in these monster minimal “hospitals”? This is really creepy. I’m a nurse. I don’t get it. I’m not talking about ICU’s. I’m talking about these lined up beds, one after another. And where are gloves? I see masks on everyone, everywhere, but no gloves?

  29. @MIMA - The ugly truth is that these aren’t medical centers, they are quarantine centers.

  30. @MIMA That’s not a treatment center, it is a quarantine center for the mildly infected and recovering. They are there so they can be monitored and quarantined. Previous method of self quarantine at home resulted in passing the infection on to family so now they are quarantined outside until recovered. The 2 field hospitals built are treatment center for COVID-19 and COVID-19 only so they don’t infect patients in general hospital that’s there for something else. The flow chart seems to be: go to general hospital -> field hospital -> wait out at field hospital or transfer to quarantine center -> release.

  31. @MIMA Perhaps that is people who should be in the ICU :(

  32. WHO should be heavily scrutinised for the way it has been handled - it does seem that chinese influence has impacted their response.

  33. The virus is spreading in high density AND high censorship countries across Asia. Frankly there’s no telling what the actual number is.

  34. @James Ozark Your comment is more representative of your opinion than facts. I am going to guess you haven’t keep tract of daily numbers from all the countries.

  35. “A single infected “super-spreader” can infect dozens of others.” I listened to an interesting interview with a British medical scientist involved in the coronavirus crisis, and he made a convincing case for not talking about “super-spreaders,” but “super-spreading events” according to where the infected person had been and the number of people he had been in contact with -like the British man at the French ski chalet. “Super-spreading events” may not evoke quite the drama of “the super-spreader,” but his explanation made it sound like a more accurate description of what was happening.

  36. I feel like we are slow walking into a world wide crisis encompassing a viral contagion and an economic one. And we have a incompetent reality television star surrounded by sycophants in charge.

  37. Nothing wrong with following a tried and true method of conscious self-preparedness practiced by groups like the Mormons for generations. Simple preparedness would mandate all families keep a minimum of 4-6 weeks of food and water, as well as necessary medications and means of charging cell phones and light sources. The meals can be those of the emergency “evac” type so as not to take up room. The normal disposable masks are nearly worthless so pick up some cheap dust masks sold at your local Lowe’s or hardware store and spray outside with rubbing alcohol...much more effective and can be used for days. Truth about how virulent this strain of virus will turn out to be is hard to know as it’s still in its early highly mutable state as it adapts to new hosts and evolves no means of transmission. Fortunately, private Chinese netizens are providing a more complete, albeit frightening, picture of a pandemic that the political class has been loathe to disclose in its full breadth. Remember simple historical facts about pandemics, such as the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918; the build in waves and the other shoe has yet to drop.

  38. @Stephanie Wood - I just wanted to point out that spraying a mask with alcohol will only kill the germs that are on it at that moment. The alcohol will then immediately evaporate, leaving no residual germicidal benefits against future exposure. And breathing through a mask wet with alcohol is a great way to poison yourself.

  39. I saw the WHO panel today congratulating China and downplaying the botched Chinese response to this crisis. Clearly China is in over their heads and one has to wonder what forces make the WTO spread such nonsense. What is even more worrisome is how clueless science is: “We are in uncharted territory.” Let’s abandon the false sense of calm. It is time to panic.

  40. @Wolf Bein Oh, come on. It's never time to panic. Panic is self-indulgence of the worst sort with only negative consequences, personal and social. If you want, buy and wear a mask and lock yourself into your house. But there's no reason at all to encourage other people to lose it too.

  41. @Wolf Bein Thankfully, science is smart enough to say “We don’t know” when they don’t know. Measures based on presumed knowledge will do more harm.

  42. @Wolf Bein I have been checking the timeline of events condensed on Wikipedia and I don’t see this “botched Chinese response” and supposed coverup often repeated by western media. Go look at the timeline. 12/30/19 - “whistleblower doctor” posted his warning to classmates 01/02/20 - 41 patients in Wuhan confirmed to have COVID-19 01/03/20 - IVDC identified the genetic sequence of COVID-19 01/08/20 - Scientists in China announced the discovery of a new coronavirus Where is this month long coverup you often see implied in the western press?

  43. Well- according to the WHO (which is less a health org and more a political PAC) we should not stop travel to China. Perhaps it’s the cozy relations that China has with Ethiopia that is pushing this narrative.

  44. With a strong wall of secrecy surrounding the real state of affaires in China it is really difficult to know what is the real toll of Coronavirus infected cases or even the health protocols being adopted to prevent and cure the disease.

  45. @Prof. Jai Prakash Sharma What I am more worried about is India showing 3 cases while Japan and Korea each shows 28. Even UAE reported 8. The Indian number haven’t moved for 2 weeks at least while numbers from developed world keep creeping up. Wondering what’s really going on in India.

  46. To understand the Chinese government's response to the coronavirus, it is essential to understand how the Chinese state applies Marxist ideology. There is an important article by Long Ling in a recent London Review of Books (What really happened in Yancheng?) that describes the process of being admitted to the Chinese civil service. It illustrates how the apparatchiks of the Chinese state are taught to respond to a report of a crisis, in this hypothetical case the panic following a chemical leak: This article first appeared a few days before the initial public announcement of the coronavirus on January 20. The following paragraph may also remind some of a leadership style found closer to home, ostensibly far removed from Marxist ideologies: "How do you ensure you score more than your competitors in essay writing? Not by being the most elegant writer, nor the most eloquent, but by demonstrating a command of official style. Outstanding candidates write their essays in neat handwriting. They choose the most appropriate words, they quote from the classics and they express complete loyalty to the party’s Central Committee. The content of what they write is, of course, shaped from the top. It is no exaggeration to say that Xi Jinping’s reports to the Party Congress are the civil servant’s bible. Candidates must be sufficiently familiar with the congressional reports and Xi’s lectures. Key paragraphs must be memorised."

  47. Anyone with any knowledge at all in stats and health reporting could see the official figures were nonsense. The fact that the news sources we're supposed to use as a bolster against misinformation were parroting them is concerning. Even today the BBC is reporting a "sharp increase in deaths"...instead of the more truthful but less headline worthy long period of under-reporting. Good to see the NYT is avoiding that trap. What we need now is less virus deniers telling us to be more worried about seasonal flu and more straightforward fact based information.

  48. I agree. The WHO has done an abysmal job and has lost all credibility with any infectious disease related experts:

  49. @Alec Macarthur The article here starts with a panic headline, and promotes the false (according to WHO) idea of 'supercarriers', among other bits of 'irresponsible coverage'. But hey, never let facts get in the way of a good story.

  50. When visiting China I observed that spitting, while officially discouraged, is prevalent throughout the country, yet I see no mention of this germ-spreading activity with relation to the corona virus outbreak. Is the Chinese government actively doing anything about this ubiquitous bad habit that surely would enhance the spread of this deadly virus?

  51. @Judith Burakowski While spitting is a disgusting habit, this virus seems to spread in less obvious ways. Simply standing close to another person and breathing in the air that the infected person exhaled is enough. This is why when walking (sporadically allowed) on the quarantined ship it is required that each person stay 6 feet away from all others.

  52. @Judith Burakowski Perhaps you would prefer the Singapore solution: Caning?

  53. The Trump administration didn’t bother to show up for the Senate briefing on the outbreak yesterday by US public health experts even after being asked by GOP Senators. Trump told them it will die out by April, no worries everyone Dr. Trump the Epidemiologist has it under control he got his degree at Harvard medical school just last week.

  54. @tiredofwaiting I’m a nurse. I case managed ICU’s in a very large US hospital. So glad to be retired - you know why? I could not tolerate or imagine this country dealing with coronavirus under Donald Trump or his cronies. He has someone just like him at the helm of the Department of Health and Human Service who delights in throwing kids in cages, and Trump has diminished the CDC staff numbers, by a lot, among other reasons. A man who won’t even have a dog because of germs, will never stand for the rights of the American public - in sickness or in health, and especially not in health crisis. Remember Reagan and AIDS? I bet family members who lost loved ones remember. I bet Bellevue Hospital remembers. To me, clear as a bell. Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about this - and doesn’t want to. Come April or not...

  55. @tiredofwaiting Please. Thank god Trump didnt listen to the WHO and ended up closing travel to China. He’s done more than most politicians on either side of the aisle.

  56. @Nomoremaos - - - There is more to controlling the spread of disease than closing travel to China. Just because you close one door does not mean the problem is contained. MIMA is correct. Briefings are important to continually evaluate a problem and the failure of the Trump administration to stay on top of this is inexcusable.

  57. Simply put, when it comes to the coronavirus, we really do not know how bad or good things are in China, and we should not be basing conclusions on what we hear from the Chinese government. What is important is what we are doing to keep the virus from coming here and establishing a foothold. Yes, there will be fallout from the effects in China that will impact us, but this fallout is not the virus coming here but rather the economic disruption we are likely to experience as China fails to provide much needed critical parts for our industry and other materials usually sourced in China. That can be serious, but we can cope with that far better than with the virus, if it were to establish here. Happily, we and most other nations are taking strong measures to keep the virus at bay. And, in all likelihood, as was the case with SARS, Ebola, etc., the coronavirus too will run its course in due time. The real problem is managing the economic difficulties that will arise from sourcing too much in China, and that is something that needs to be addressed and vigorously pursued.

  58. @jpduffy3 One could worry at least as much about "sourcing too much" from Europe, the Indian subcontinent, or Indonesia. Maybe even California, which has earthquakes or American port cities that seem far less protected from flooding than vulnerable to flooding.

  59. It's now this virus vs the Chinese economy and the very "legitimacy" of the Xi administration. If the numbers stay on the upward trend, the accuracy in reporting by the government will become very hard to measure given the full control of the party in everything and their devotion to the image of China and the country's social harmony.

  60. @DM If Xi and China is worrying about that they wouldn’t bother with revising the numbers up today would they?

  61. Is there concern that COVID-19 might also mutate now that it's being "hosted" by many more humans? It mutated from its original source to a intermediate host that allowed it then transfer (or mutate and transfer?) to humans. Might it be changing further, adapting to aerosol-based transmission?

  62. @JFR Of course it can and will mutate in various ways. Some of those mutations may make it more virulent to humans. But, the odds of specific needed mutations at the right time in the right host are still small.

  63. It is possible for it to “mutate”, and become more virulent or less virulent (attenuated). The aerosol transmission being seen is likely intrinsic and has been there since day one. I am very concerned about the fecal and aerosol routes not being discussed.

  64. Using this outbreak as a stick with which to beat up and criticise the Chinese government is pointless at this stage and only risks making matters worse. They have released a lot of information, and with the numbers of infected people in Hubei it's no wonder they struggle to keep track. What happened at the start of the outbreak should now be of epidemiological interest only. Some people have been sacked and that's enough. Remember that no one will ever have intended to facilitate the spread of the virus. With our own case of a single person infecting ten or so others and with sight of how that's been handled by our system, media criticism of the Chinese has markedly dropped in the UK. When the dust has settled and hopefully the virus contained, then it can be time to try and work with the Chinese on things like closing live food markets and preventing public spitting. But these are cultural issues and while it seems that their society has evolved massively over the past decades, it's hard for them to become a fully developed country overnight. It took us centuries.

  65. @Londoner I have to agree. Other than failing to shut down the live-animal market long ago, it seems to me that the Chinese have done everything they could to minimize the spread of the disease. I can't see the US successfully imposing quarantines on L.A., Chicago, Atlanta and New York City or building hospitals within a week. The fact is it might not be possible to contain this thing through no fault of the Chinese govt.

  66. @Cornflower Rhys Done everything they could? Like bullying and ignoring Dr. Li?

  67. @Cornflower Rhys Done everything they could? Like bullying and ignoring Dr. Li?

  68. As the old saying goes, you repair the roof before the rain. So time to do some preparation. 2 likely impacts. First stress on supply chains, particularly in cities. By going out today and stocking up on non perishable food you're helping yourself, and lessening a sudden stress on supplies. Secondly. Think about what happens if you or your family members get sick. Statistically speaking you're most likely to get the virus at the peak of the when the health system is most stressed. Will you be able to access an oxygen supply when the time comes? Does you're local health service have that spare capacity? If not may be worth investing a few hundred dollars in an oxygen concentrator now. If you do the worst (and best) case is that you've wasted some money.

  69. There was no reason to trust previous numbers, or the calculation of serious complications and death as a percentage, because at no point have we ever understood the base number of infected. The disease spreads like a cold, and people have no immunity or at best limited immunity to it. Millions may have just had a cold, relatively asymptomatic, even as we see the effects of more serious illness spreading. The people at ground zero have the biggest difficulty since the disease could spread and overwhelm medical facilities before it was even recognized. A sharp doctor did understand he was looking a a real threat, but while the disease was contagious, alarm was not. The rest of the world has the advantage of knowing what to look for. Frankly, I hope Trump is right, and the virus has a season the way that flu usually does. We'd be idiots to bank on that, especially as we are busy undermining healthcare for our most vulnerable populations.

  70. "A single infected 'super-spreader' can infect dozens of others" In the case of the British man who got infected in a Singapore meeting, he in turn infected 5 in France and 5 in GB, but he wasn't very sick and is already released from hospital. The press called him a 'sup-spreader', but experts say it has more to do with circumstances than the infected person themselves, and therefore it ought to called a super-spreading event.

  71. What I’d like to see reported is who this disease is killing. The number of deceased with underlying illness. The number of children.

  72. @Shannon Charron A few days ago, deaths were skewed toward the elderly and those with chronic disease.........what you would expect.

  73. Why does the world seem to believe the amount of infections, reported by the Chinese government, which has never told the truth before?

  74. @George Same reason some people still believe anything Trump says. Though I would guess the Chinese are more honest in this case.

  75. Now conspiracy promoters are going to add another 0 to their numbers. Facebook and YouTube need to hire some volunteer moderators to monitor their platforms. Another thing, notice how the number from advanced countries keep going up for the last 2 weeks but developing and undeveloped countries are still low single digits or none? Need simple and cheap testing kits quick.

  76. @AmateurHistorian Remember the grains of rice on a chess board fable? The actual total is pretty irrelevant, it’s the transmission rate that counts. Whether the figure is at the official 50,000 or the ‘conspiracy theorists’ 500,000 doesn’t make a difference, compound growth gets us to the same place very quickly. Before the clearly false figures showing slowdown on growth, there was a constant 20%i(ish) a day growth. That takes us to a million cases before the end of the month….and two million just a week after that…10 million by the middle of march.

  77. @Alec Macarthur I calculated around the 4th of february that given constant growth the whole world would be infected around May 13th. I used a doubling time of 5 days and found by the number of infected back then that it needed only 19 doubling periods to reach more than the current world population. But assuming constant growth is not always wise. It could both slow and accelerate.

  78. @Hans Luckily, you are forgetting about two factors, Hans. Firstly, not everyone is susceptible to the virus, and secondly, as there are more people in a given group who get the virus (and recover or die), there are fewer left who are susceptible and actually get it. If it were not so, the human species would have perished a long, long time ago.

  79. As Chinese medical staff dealing with more Coronavirus patients, broad in-situ experience shows that screening criteria need to be changed. This change is not surprised nor unexpected. This new number won't change the situation how to stop the virus nor discourage the determination of Chinese front line fighters to eliminate it. Based on the news from Hong Kong today, both the leader of Hubei province and city mayor of Wuhan, the epidemic center, has been replaced. Unless the virus is under control or contained, Chinese government won't dare to change the local leadership now. The situation will get better as the companies and factories slowing admit more workers to come back. Also based on the news from Hong Kong, ordinary people seem to adapt to the daily restriction and inconvenience rather well. People trust their government and worry less about Coronavirus than their jobs. And many China experts predict that the production and supply chain will soon be running back in full force with a vengeance.

  80. @Usok China and the US don’t want a massive sell off in their stock markets so these lies keep their economy safe in their fantasy world.

  81. Lung scans are not a bad idea and more efficient - whether a lung infection is due to the coronavirus or something else, the patient needs to be treated. It may not help with analyzing the epidemic, but it may help save lives.

  82. Lung scans using what, an MRI? Those are hugely expensive machines and not prevalent outside the rich, industrialized nations.

  83. I get it. This situation is completely out of hand. They don't know if they have any ability to diagnose the tip of the iceberg on cases of coronavirus. But, now, this actually matters. In terms of deciding how to TREAT the patients, which seems to be what the actual issue is in this Communist nation where the government often thinks upside down and most other people can't seem to think in a straight line, the strategy of diagnosis by X ray makes good sense. They're not just using the X-ray diagnosis to count cases, they're using it to decide who gets into a hospital for treatment. People with viral pneumonia need it treated no matter what is the cause. I can't imagine my own local U.S . hospital even bothering to identify the virus. And it obviously needs to be said; coronavirus seems WAY more likely to cause viral pneumonia than the flu ever has since 1918!

  84. @Dora Smith I would say many world wide problems are out of hand. We control so little that determine the outcomes in big picture problems. I can imagine this virus gets much worse in many places in many ways. I can also see Spring is just weeks away and the outbreak washes out with the warm rain. When do the blue flowers bloom?

  85. @Dora Smith one thing I haven’t seen mentioned is the much higher rate of smoking among the Chinese population as well as the role of significant air pollution throughout China. The rate of respiratory illness is always a factor in the mortality of flu patients.

  86. Everyone needs to stop looking at random variation/noise and declaring trends. In these sorts of cases, you won't be able to call trends until far into the trend or after it's done.

  87. According to reporting on NPR this morning, following the WHO's reclassification, there are now in excess of 60,000 people globally infected with this strain of Coronavirus. We know this and we know the number of people that have succumbed to it. What I'm wondering is how many have fully recovered. Is anybody aware of that figure? Our office has posted a document from the CDC in all public spaces which makes it quite clear that this specific virus is no worse than a common cold and that treatment, provided the infection doesn't spread to the lower respiratory area, is no different than that of a common cold, ie: rest, fluids & off the shelf medication. This is all well and good if all those that have been infected with the virus, and whose lives haven't been lost to it, have recovered. But I don't know what this number is. As far as I know everybody that contracted it either still have it or have died. Anybody any idea how many people have FULLY recovered form a confirmed case of this disease?

  88. @JK My understanding is that the person who first arrived in Everett WA and was hospitalized was improved, discharged and doing fine.

  89. @JK, regarding recovery numbers: Johns Hopkins has a good dashboard that includes recovery counts at: The recovery numbers are very low, which leads back to the question of how they're being counted. With an outbreak that started over six weeks ago, only about 10% of those who've caught the virus are listed as having recovered as of 2/13/20. My guess is the numbers are much more reliable OUTSIDE China.

  90. @JK: Ask Trump. He's the Giant Brain that will save us all.

  91. What's the problem? Trump says it will be gone by Spring, so why worry? He said that if it isn't , he'll fire the Physician General and close the CDC, since, he says, clearly, they can't be doing their job if this disease is still rolling around, He is such a Guiding Light for Sense and Sensibility.

  92. This article is a misinterpretation of the data. Cases of the novel Coronavirus illness have been occurring at a much higher rate than reported all along, because everyone with illness cannot be tested. In flu epidemics, cases of flu or "flu-like illness" have always been counted in the epidemic curve, as have cases of "pneumonia", all cause. The "jump" in cases is likely due to changing the case definition. With this new definition, the curve can be followed for the next few weeks to see what is actually happening in Wuhan.

  93. @BobH I agree. Too much emphasis on the "jump" in numbers and not much calm explanation of how they got there or what it means.

  94. @blgreenie They call it news. Then it becomes yesterday's news.

  95. Don't panic, yet. "The few experts to learn of the new numbers on Wednesday night were startled." What kind of "expert" would find this startling or unexpected? It would be startling if we found that previous testing had captured all, or even most, cases. But think about it. Even in China, you can't apply a complicated and costly test to everybody who is sick in a timely fashion. What they are doing now is making a clinical diagnosis. This can be an effective way of identifying patients if there is some clinical feature that is fairly specific for Covid-19 infection (not all pneumonias look the same on scan). Of course, with this approach, there will always be false positives, with some people "diagnosed" when they have something else. It should also surprise no one when we later discover that there have been many infections that were not counted at all by either method. The deadlier something is, the easier it is to keep track. This looks like it can be pretty bad, but not *that* bad, so many milder cases will be missed. Unfortunately, we also can't know how many are dead in their homes, etc. The important thing to remember, is that this "increase" does not represent an actual surge in infections or deaths, but is the result of a quick and dirty diagnostic method that is hopefully helping to capture a more accurate number. The actual trend remains unknown and totals could still be dropping. Hold the panic, for now......

  96. So far coronavirus is a lot ' smarter', 'tougher'and 'wiser' than Chinese President Xi Jinping and American President Donald Trump. And coronavirus shares the inherent natural enduring privileged and powerful inability of either man to express and show any humble humane empathy for any human being living with fear from the coronavirus threat.

  97. “We’re in unknown territory,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. ^ Please stop quoting this individual as a reputable source. His previous quote about the coronavirus was this: “Coronavirus will be a blip on the horizon,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (Source: The New York Times, "Should You Be Worried About the Coronavirus?" 29 January 2020.)

  98. @Sándor Well you're pretty tough. The fact that he at first underestimated the disease is no reason to discard him. No one is always right. Dr. Schaffner is past president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. He is a reputable source. Are you?

  99. Y’all really said assess instead of access

  100. Does this mean that the virus is more infectious but less lethal than was thought before?

  101. Yes

  102. Why are the stock markets continuing to go up after analysts keep lying saying this virus is under control? Even hotels chains and car companies who have already admitted this will cause disruptions to their profits for the year and yet all their stocks continue to rise and rise. This whole situation is proof the stock markets live in heavily manipulated fantasy world.

  103. Please, media: A little perspective. In the city of Wuhan, there are some 18-million souls. In all of Hubei Province surrounding and including Wuhan? Nearly 60-million. Therefore, 1,300 +/- deaths and 100,000-plus infected overall is not a reflection of a virus out of control. For that, you could expect to see the above numbers rise two, perhaps three decimal points. As officials attempt to corral "Coronavid-19" and reduce it to harmlessness, the numbers will ebb and flow with each passing day, week, month. It's akin to trying to round up a gaggle of slippery chickens soaked in paint---not only is it hard to corner the darn things, but lots of people are going to get splattered with paint. That's a terrible analogy, I know, but I thing you get the imagery. We're still rounding up chickens, but rounding them up, we are. The numbers reflect that.

  104. @David Bartlett 11 million not 18. Kind of a big difference

  105. An increase of 15,000 infected people sounds more like an error or a cover up than a change in diagnostic criteria. Not sure why you are taking this at face value and even attempting to justify it.

  106. If there was a prize for creating the vaccine then there would be an incentives to be quicker.

  107. @IN Jonas Salk didn't need a prize. My belief is that he didn't take out a patent and didn't make a dime. He was practicing the profession of medicine. Now most people seem to be in the business of medicine. A really bad change. But hey, the folks at the CDC ain't getting rich. Three cheers for the CDC.

  108. Creating a vaccine is not an easy thing, and I'm sure they're working on it as fast as possible. The people that go into that line of work aren't interested in monetary reward, but actually want to save people. Very different than careers in marketing and so on.

  109. Report on the BBC "Many more people may be forced to self-isolate as part of efforts to stop the coronavirus spreading in Britain, the head of NHS England has warned." Forced to self-isolate...marvelous use of doublespeak..."force self-isolation"...or as it should be called "forced isolation".

  110. All viral illnesses have a period after the patient has become infected and the virus is multiplying within their body and being shed in secretions before the individual has any symptoms of being sick. This is the asymptomatic carrier stage of the illness. During this time people carry on their normal daily activities be it going to the market, staying at home, flying for business or pleasure, etc. You cannot expect mass isolation to work once the cow is out of the barn. Self isolation of the noninfected from the infected may help. Masks do not. It will run its course. As it does, use appropriate precautions.

  111. The fact that somebody had time to retabulate heaps of data means that the local authorities have time to do this. I infer that they feel more in control of the situation. Other than the headline is misleading, this is good. The additional numbers also mean that the bureaucrats in charge will cover the higher numbers in a report up the chain of command with a statement that things are improving.

  112. Approx 80,000 died from the flu in the 2017-2018 season, in the US alone. That year, 900,000 Americans were hospitalized, more than double the usual. CDC estimates from 250,000 to 650,000 die annually from the flu. These facts would be nice to know when reading articles about the severity of a coronavirus.

  113. @SXM 250,000? The numbers are much lower for seasonal flu. Seasonal flu usually not a killer. There are vaccines as well.

  114. @SXM Most of us do know this, thank you very much. We're readers and we have heard this fact about the common flu lately, ad nauseam. What we are concerned about is the added 2% death rate on the entire population, from the spread of the coronavirus. 2% is concerning. Are our hospitals and medical systems equipped to manage this? Exp. as there is no vaccine for this virus, as yet.

  115. @SXM As several have now commented, perspective is needed and is lacking in articles about this epidemic.

  116. There have been reports out of China of a) Under reporting to save face, b) That many people in the countryside are not even being checked nor quarantined. There could be a large reservoir of people with the disease. This crisis could last for sometime as those people infect others and the cases spread out of the cities to the general population. That could make it hard for China and its factories to restart anytime soon. In turn that will put pressure on the US economy as we are tightly linked with Chinese manufacturing. We no longer have the capacity to make these parts in the US in large enough numbers for our needs so we could also see an extended slowdown. That could effect the Presidential election. Trump of course will try to blame others for this, I doubt he will be successful. Interesting times are ahead.

  117. Perhaps this has been mentioned by others. It seems the most important takeaway from all these recent epidemics: MERS SARS Novel Coronavirus is that the sale, consumption and warehousing of bats must end.

  118. @mike Yes, but the human consumption of bats is not uncommon in Southeast Asia and goes on regularly as well in other countries as Indonesia.

  119. It'd be nice for the bats if we stopped eating them, but these various pandemics will come about even after we've driven most other mammals extinct. Our current viruses will keep mutating and there will always be new strains.

  120. @mike I thought MERS was carried by camels.

  121. The lesson seems to be that much/most of the world is simply not prepared for this. Not governments, cruise lines or health systems. If nothing else, this is a lesson on the importance nations having strong, well funded public health services, which are too often the least appreciated facet of health care.

  122. As many have pointed out, we can’t get an accurate handle on the number of people who have contracted the virus and, therefore, how contagious it really is. The corollary to that missing data is any sense of the symptoms of the sick. We hear only some rough estimate of the number of cases and the number of deaths. What are the symptoms and severity of most of the cases? It looks as if the virus is particularly contagious because humans have no antibodies to fight it, just as native Central and South Americans had no antibodies to fight smallpox at the time of European contact. Is this new virus as virulent and contagious as smallpox, or is it more like the flu, which sickens most people but kills relatively few? Until we can get accurate data, we are operating in the dark. Packing people into “hospitals” with very limited medical resources may indeed be increasing and accelerating the death toll. Just as we were able to isolate and effectively treat the few returning health workers from Africa during the Ebola outbreak, the contagion was containable and treatable. Therefore, those countries experiencing a few cases have a special responsibility to isolate, monitor and treat each individual. And by the way, a cruise ship is nothing more than an old fashioned plague ship. Get those passengers home, even if you need a private jet for each of them, and place them under proper quarantine and care.

  123. China's attempt to show the world it is in control is backfiring. Commingling the healthy with the high risk in closed spaces like a cruise ship certainly doesn't help. People need to use common sense. Quarantines work with the high risk; but when you are mixing it up, secondary contamination is more a norm than an exception

  124. It was premature to expect this virus epidemic to wane especially since it's highly contagious. The clinical diagnosing of this virus would certainly ramp up aid to those infected. Imagine Chinese health providers are becoming experts on identifying/diagnosing COVID-19 along with chest xrays, since many test kits like the ones CDC sent out, are flawed-don't work.

  125. As a world, we are over populated. We may have become efficient at controlling diseases and outbreaks, but there will always be new strains developing that are not containable. As wild fires clear the land globally, mother nature will also manage the world population. In highly populated areas, such as in China, controlling new strains of viruses will be nearly impossible. Our only hope is that the coronavirus has a short life cycle.

  126. Well, technically our only hope is that one of these pandemics manages to reduce humanity's population to survivable levels before we destroy the environment past the point of no return. The most unfortunate thing about the coronavirus is that it will almost certainly kill nowhere near enough people.

  127. Bat excrement or guano mining is an industry in several parts of the world. It is a rich fertilizer. Regulations to limit consumption of bat meat vary from country to country and enforcement varies as well. Contact with bats and with their excrement will therefore remain a potential source of future plagues since bats are among the highest carriers of viruses in the animal world.

  128. @blgreenie And there's a lot of them. We don't see then that much, they are all nocturnal I believe.

  129. This still isn't an important disease, despite all the hype. If the deaths reached a hundred million, which they almost certainly will not, it would still not be enough to put a dent in the destruction humanity is causing to the environment. A million species are due to go extinct soon, due to human deprivation of the environment. The earth is warming up, again due to us, and vast areas are going to become unlivable. Coastal cities will go underwater, the Middle East will become as uninhabitable as the Sahara, and these effects won't just wipe out human settlements, but most life forms. We're also filling up the oceans with plastic and wiping out a lot of life that way. Due to our pumping poisons into the air and water, most insect life has vanished already, and since that's near the bottom of the food chain it will have catastrophic repercussions. So as the media keeps whining and moaning about a paltry thousand or two deaths from this virus, I can't help but react with disgust. There is nothing important about this extremely minor cause of death to humans only, and everyone is doing their best to ignore the truly important things. Meanwhile, the virus news causes racists to attack Asians for no reason, in places the virus has never hit. You humans are appalling.

  130. @Dan Stackhouse the timing might coincide with over-priced stocks and assets which, in turn, could snowball into reduced use of oil. The earth can probably sustain 3 billion. Too bad we have chosen disease and starvation over contraception, but, like you say, what a species.

  131. @Dan Stackhouse Ummm....the reason why there's only a few thousand deaths is because there are only tens of thousands of people are so far infected. If the virus is not contained and spreads to areas where there is insufficient health resources to quarantine and care for the population, then the death toll will increase greatly. Seasonal influenza infects approximately 5 million people a year. If this corona virus infects that many, then there would be approximately 125,000 deaths. Every year. And who exactly is the "everyone" ignoring the truly important things? Looking at the NY Times website there appear to be tons of articles on multiple topics ranging across the other things you were concerned about as well. You'll also have to forgive me if I'm not very impressed by the "humanity" of someone who downplays a few thousand deaths with scorn and fails to think about what would happen if millions of people were infected. Somehow I imagine you'd be a bit more concerned if you were the one on the chopping block.

  132. Dear Emory, Thanks, and indeed there's always hope. Dear Christian, Of course you're forgiven, and I have no need to convince anyone of my humanity. 125,000 deaths per year, worldwide, is nowhere near enough to save the planet from humanity, that's why it doesn't concern me. Mere millions of deaths won't make enough difference, it will have to be over a billion. And I can shrug off millions of deaths because if our impact is not reduced, ALL of humanity will die. Always important to choose the lesser of two evils. And you're right, not everyone is ignoring the important things. But the majority of humanity is, my apologies for exaggerating though.

  133. President Xi Jinping is leading the people's successful struggle against the novel coronavirus: Wuhan is a heroic city, and the people of Hubei and Wuhan are heroic people who have never been crushed by any difficulty and danger in history. If Wuhan wins the battle against the virus, Hubei will. If Hubei wins the battle, the nation will. We can certainly obtain a full victory in the fight against the epidemic. Close attention must be paid to employment and large scale layoffs should be avoided. The fundamentals of China's long-term economic development remain unchanged and the impact of the novel coronavirus epidemic on the economy is short lived. -- President Xi Jinping See Chinese leaders are firmly in control. Nothing to see here people, move along.

  134. SARS-coV 2 is the actual name given to the virus by the international Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). Covid-2019 co(crona)vi(virus)d(disease)-2019 is just the name of the illness caused by the SARS-coV 2 virus. Why do publication keep referring to the virus by way of the illness it causes as opposed to its actual taxonomic name when we don’t do that for any other disease? Ex..we say Ebola virus not hemorrhagic fever, we say HIV when taking about % of population, not AIDS. We say H1N1 influenza, not unspecific flu symptoms with varying levels of severity. This is all confusing because now I don’t know if the media is referring # of people infected as people who just have coronavirus disease symptoms or if it is referring to the actual number of people infected with SARS coV -2. I can see why China is changing their criteria for diagnosis (chest scan vs lab test) so they can get sick people treatment quicker. But the way the media reports on SARS-coV 2 is confusing and seems misleading. We’re all big kids. I think we can handle the virus’s actual name even if it is scarier sounding than covid-2019.

  135. Similar story to those over the years telling us poor capitalist saps how great the USSR was doing. There seems to be a problem in countries ruled by a communistic dictatorships in truthfulness. We need to remember this in dealing with these countries - N Korea, China, and the ex but still willing Russia.

  136. China has a long history of lying about statistics like this. If the number of cases jumped it's only because their lie wasn't realistic.

  137. Thanks to Trump, the U.S. is now known for constant lies as well, often about completely meaningless things like the size of an inauguration crowd.

  138. Isn't it well established that reported flu cases represent many more unreported cases? That is to say a definitive diagnosis is rare when there is obvious widespread activity. I'm glad someone listed to an expert to report numbers based on clinical findings to signify disease. There is hope for the future beyond that offered by demented old men running the world. My point is this new larger number of cases were already there. The afflicted knew. They're just measured and reported now. Let's see the world wide response ramp up appropriately.

  139. My guess is that the actual infected ( and death) has been leveling off and already decreasing, BUT statistically ( not merging both confirmed-via-swab and suspected-via-chestXray due to initial overwhelmed med care) the previous numbers (total infected and death) were erred by half (given the daily death almost doubled today, and newly infected is about equal Wuhan’s previous total.). There is still one omission imo, I believe the total dead should be about 2x of previous total, around 2500, to reflect the daily 2x jump. Outside of Wuhan in rest of China, there was no such jump in data, perhaps an indication of sufficient test kits to confirm all cases from the beginning.

  140. @Tim Teng Thanks for sharing your guess. I feel so much better.

  141. Guess I feel better too? Or not?

  142. Read the last sentence in this paragraph, then think about a third possibility. From Science, “Mining coronavirus genomes for clues to the outbreak’s origins” By Jon CohenJan. 31, 2020 , 6:20 PM “Concerns about the (Wuhan Virology Lab) institute predate this outbreak. Nature ran a story in 2017 about it building a new biosafety level 4 lab and included molecular biologist Richard Ebright of Rutgers University, Piscataway, expressing concerns about accidental infections, which he noted repeatedly happened with lab workers handling SARS in Beijing. Ebright, who has a long history of raising red flags about studies with dangerous pathogens, also in 2015 criticized an experiment in which modifications were made to a SARS-like virus circulating in Chinese bats to see whether it had the potential to cause disease in humans. Earlier this week, Ebright questioned the accuracy of Bedford’s calculation that there are at least 25 years of evolutionary distance between RaTG13—the virus held in the Wuhan virology institute—and 2019-nCoV, arguing that the mutation rate may have been different as it passed through different hosts before humans. Ebright tells ScienceInsider that the 2019-nCoV data are “consistent with entry into the human population as either a natural accident or a laboratory accident.””

  143. COVID-19 (Wuhan Corona virus) has evolved to outsmart the human race and anyone who thinks otherwise is being deceptive. As I have been saying all along there are many unknowns about the dirty tricks this virus plays. To base any diagnostic criteria on not knowing enough was bound to cause confusion and ignorant actions. It all started with unfair denial of the warnings from DR. Li WenLiang who had to lay down his life to make his countrymen believe his warnings and the accept the impending disaster that was to fall on his country. Common health officials in China. Always remember truth will set you free and ignorance is not bliss, it will result in mistrust and harm an optimal response and the cause of eradication of this deadly, highly contagious and sturdy virus.

  144. @Girish Kotwal On the one hand it's nice to see you write about something other than your undying love for Trump but, this clause is bizarre: "anyone who thinks otherwise is being deceptive." Not if they're saying what they think! They could be wrong of course. It evolved thru natural selection to be able to outwit our immune systems. Whether it can outwit the scientists is yet to be seen. It took a long time for the scientists to figure out how to deal with HIV but they did finally. BTW I think you're overdoing the anthropomorphization of the virus. One way to think of viruses is as a mail system run amok. Going postal if you will.

  145. @Girish Kotwal: Evolved, or engineered?

  146. @Jack Toner from Oakland, CA. Have you heard the term know thy enemy? Until we understand the purpose in life of a virus, we cannot zap it. Yes a virus may not talk or hear or feel like humans but it can make human cells do exactly what it wants to ensure its multiplication/replication. Did you know HIV can regulate 250 genes to get exactly the protein it needs? In human terms that is a billionaire sitting at a dinner table and ordering 250 different dishes to satisfy his or her own appetite. A virus can only be visualized under an electron microscope but it has the capacity to evade our complex immune response in order to become a successful killer. So don't underestimate a virus because of its nano size. Do you know why after spending billions on HIV vaccine we don't have one? Figure it our or go talk to some of the finest HIV researchers at UCSF or Cal tech filled with the smartest minds in the world but HIV has outsmarted them again and again and the stark reality is as of today there is no HIV vaccine. Corona is different, a vaccine should be possible fairly quickly and more importantly before the virus is driven out of our planet before it takes down another 1000 people.

  147. It is striking how little perspective is being sought in these stories. For instance, the Times ran a story yesterday about a person testing OK and then later testing positive for the virus. Scary; makes you question reliability of tests. But follow-up elsewhere, from CDC was that an initial test was mistakenly not performed on that individual; the positive test was the only test done. Keep a skeptical eye about what you read.

  148. The emperor of China has assured the emperor of the United States that there is no problem. This will go away by itself this summer because it will be too hot for the virus to spread. Nothing to see here. No action need be taken. Our emperor has the highest regard for his counterpart and feels that cutting funding to the very agencies that would need to deal with this is an appropriate response.

  149. @JW Thanks for paying attention. How do we wake up the sleeping masses?

  150. @Jack Toner Remember Trump lost the general election by 3 million votes. You have to believe in the law of averages. The average Joe and Jane know when they're being had, even in this age of superscam.

  151. It’s pretty warm in Singapore right now (on the equator). Covid19 seems to be surviving just fine... why should the summer be different?

  152. NYTimes need to send assets to the undeveloped world and find out what’s going on there. All the focus reporting on China and China bashing is distracting everyone from the real threat: countries without the money and resources to contain the infection. Yesterday NYTimes reported Indonesia reported no cases so far even through surrounding countries all have. I am looking at the tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins and there is big gaping hole from South Asia, Africa and Latin America. India reported 3 cases, Sri Lanka 1, Africa and Latin America all 0. I check the tracker daily and I think India and Sri Lanka reported the same number 2 weeks ago. North America, Europe, and East Asia all have numbers creeping up on a daily basis but the rest of the world none? Japan and Korea each have 28 cases, Singapore 58, Hong Kong 51, Macau 10, Australia 15, Finland and Sweden 1 each. These are the wealthiest, cleanest countries with longest life expectancy and they have problem isolating patients but India and Nigeria do?

  153. For context, how many cases of flu are there currently, and how many people have passed away from the flu this season?

  154. @Jaymie Shooj, the numbers are high for infected and deaths due to complications from the flu in the U.S. yearly, but the fact of the matter is this: the mortality rate for complications from the flu is lower than the mortality rate (2%) for 2019-n-CoV. It would be even lower and the number of cases much lower if people of all ages would stop being fools about not taking advantage of yearly vaccinations for flu, particularly when they are free through many wellness programs offered by employers across our country. I came down with the vicious Hong Kong flu in 1969 when I was an otherwise healthy 17 year old in high school and in the 1970s when I was still in my 20s with a bad case of the Swine flu that had me knocked out flat on my back and so sick I though I was dying, for about 8 days before I slowly started to get better. I swore then never again. When the flu vaccines started becoming available before potential outbreaks occurred, I paid for them out of my own pocket because they weren't covered by health insurance back then. I didn't care. I haven't been that sick as I was in 1969 and the 1970s - thank God - since then, and I'm now 68. When my employers started offering free flu shots through wellness programs, I took full advantage. Now retired, I receive free yearly flu vaccinations under Medicare.

  155. Back in 2003 people were claiming that it will be a world wide epidemic and in the end the casualties were minuscule in comparison to the likes of the flu. Of course, the mortality rate is higher for Coronavirus. However there is also a much greater focus on the prevention of its spread. Much of China is locked down on an unprecedented scale and fact of the matter is that if there is no human-to-human contact, the virus can't spread. Sooner or later the spread will slow. The real risk is the virus spreading to countries with less efficient infrastructure and governance. That risk is greatly reduced due to the quarantine in place in China. The telling sign is that the Chinese government is confident enough now to allow some companies to return to work.

  156. @Sean Not sure if we can trust the Chinese government to make the right call. There would be a lot of pressure to re-open factories. The fact that we didn't get a worst case scenario in 2003 doesn't mean anything. We had one in1918. We could have one again. Was anyone with actual expertise claiming a coming world-wide epidemic or were they warning of the possibility?

  157. @Sean, the increase in cases in China alone by over 14,000 overnight belie your statement that the disease is spread ONLY by person to person contact. That is not what scientists are saying!

  158. @Jan N That is because the diagnostic criteria has changed. The # of deaths has not increased significantly with the new criteria. If anything it shows that the mortality rate is lower.

  159. How many people who had the coronavirus have recovered?

  160. Everybody who didn't die, ie: about 97% or 98% of diagnosed infected. Since many infected people never got diagnosed, it's probably over 99% of infected people that recovered fully.

  161. @whs, presumably everybody who was counted in the "official tally" of cases worldwide (60,405), other than the 1,370 individuals who are officially said to have died worldwide (all but 3 in China) as a result of the novel coronavirus. I got my figures earlier this morning from Wikipedia online. I've been keeping track of the rise in cases and deaths since the first confirmed death in China on January 9, 2020. I hope everyone will keep in mind that we won't ever have a truly accurate count of infections and deaths, since China chose to deliberately not report suspicious deaths beginning in mid-December, 2019 as attributable to 2019-n-CoV and cremated the bodies of the deceased without testing for 2019-n-CoV. Family members of these potentially infected people who died also were not then tested by the authorities in Wuhan. The virus could have been existing for weeks before 5 million people just up and left Wuhan before the quarantine went into effect! We must also keep in mind that the test developed by our own U.S. CDC is defective and not very accurate in successfully diagnosing existence of the virus in an infected person.

  162. At what point do we start questioning any products coming from the affected area? Half of the worlds production comes from China. Seems logical to ask how this virus can impact possibly exported products. If most of the world is restricting travel on people, shouldn't we be considering the same for products coming from China???

  163. Dear Tiffany T, It's not a major concern. The virus can live inside a host for weeks, but not on a surface. The flu virus can survive on a surface for 24 hours only, and this virus probably has the same lifespan. Generally anything received from China has gone without human contact for over 24 hours, so there's really nearly no possibility of infection by that vector.

  164. @Dan Stackhouse it takes longer than 24 hours to ship a container from China to the US. I don't think many Chinese products are sent by air. Most people come that way though.

  165. @Tiffany T, that is what every government and business owner in the world, including China, is worried about. Thus far, profits continue to triumph over people, and isn't that usually the case!

  166. The statistical models are probably more useful than the reported numbers at this point. There is a nice article in the LA Times about the four tiers of cases and how you try to measure each using different methods. At this point too, it would be interesting to see the course of the illness in people who have recovered.

  167. It is hard as yet for real scientists to know the extent of this new coronavirus epidemic, its virulence and its infectiousness. Scientists know what they do not yet know,. It's the politicians like Xi and Trump who make predictions based on muddled, unscientific thought processes who have been coming up with all sorts of statements of imagined fact, when, in fact, they don't know what they don't know. Trump tweets that the virus will die in April when the temperature warms up. Anyone who believes anything Trump predicts deserves what will happen if they act on Trump's predictions.

  168. @RLW So what about Xi? You said Trump and Xi? Trump may be a zero but Xi certainly must have at least been supportive of mobilization of resources and building new hospitals in 10 days from the ground up to house new patients.

  169. What would happen if we stopped panicking and treated the Coronavirus like the flu? We are not China, we have a health system that works and can address issues like this without full on pandemic response. Let us remember that we have a grand total of 15 cases in the US, versus 9 million to 49 million cases of the flu each year. Those cases of the flu result in 12,000 to 40,000 deaths each year. We have yet to have a death in the US due to the Coronavirus. I am wondering if perhaps we are reacting like 'Chicken Little' "The sky is falling, The sky is falling!!"

  170. @Bruce1253 1> The flu has vaccines 2> R0 flu 1.3 Coronavirus 2.2-2.5 (how contagious) 3> Flu 1% severe Coronavirus 15% 4> Transmission period before symptoms is greater 5> illness length appears longer 6> no tested drug protocol that is proven to work we don't have the infrastructure to deal with something twice as contagious as the flu that produces 15x the number of patients needing hospitalization. There isn't enough equipment in the USA to provide advanced life support to even a fraction of that number.

  171. @SVfl. A comparison mentioned in the article may be helpful. More contagious than its cousins SARS and MERSA but less often fatal. That suggests more deaths to me because even though fatality rate is less more people are getting infected.

  172. @Bruce1253 Some things never change. There were people with your same response during the early warnings about the infamous Spanish flu pandemic.

  173. Not really a shocker... it’s just that the Chinese government finally decided to accept doctors’ diagnoses in the statistical count. Previously the diagnosis could only be counted if a governmental test kit was used, and the test kits were in short supply and hard to get. So, as the supply of test kits dwindled, the epidemic seemed to be fading. But when the rules changed, the true picture emerged.

  174. Dear SJ Kane, Sorry but you're completely wrong. Bats are kosher, and we get viruses from all sorts of other animals. Kosher laws don't prevent zoonotic infections.

  175. Sorry Dan, I believe you are wrong about bats being kosher: Are bats kosher? In order to be kosher... Land animals must chew their cud AND have split hooves, explaining the well-known 'no bacon' phenomenon: pigs don't chew their cud! ... Birds cannot be ones of prey, and other random winged animals are forbidden, such as bats. However, chicken and turkey are okay. Mar 25, 2015 Backroads › blog › kosher Is it Kosher? - Backroads

  176. If only the Chinese had embraced Kosher dietary laws - there would likely be no Coronavirus spreading across borders now (no eating bats and the like allowed) and likewise the world may have never known of SARS (no eating of civets). I’m not evangelizing ... just sayin’.

  177. While we all prefer a genetic test, China is telling us they don't have the resources. A test kit shortage is causing them to triage testing based on preliminary evaluations. You can imagine how such a system would produce horrifically inaccurate results. The test is perfectly accurate. Determining when to administer the test is fatally flawed. Enter lung screening. Far less accurate than a genetic test but easily administered to anyone who shows up at a health facility. An analyst's worst nightmare though. You've reset the baseline on how we identify Wuhan virus. All the old data are only comparable with themselves. China basically admitted all their current data aren't worth saving. They're starting over from scratch. A backwards admission that China believes their old data are garbage anyway. We therefore have absolutely no idea what is actually going on with coronavirus right now. This on the day we learn a taxi driver in Japan has contracted the disease without contact with the cruise ship. While I'm not one to panic over infectious diseases, we should all be increasingly alarmed.

  178. Coronavirus spreading to India?

  179. Not particularly, there's three cases there. No deaths. But I'm sure the media will act like it's the zombie apocalypse.

  180. Press reports seem to be coming out every day with unverified information about the number of cases. Enough "Fake News" already! We only know the number of cases that tested positive for the disease via actual genetic or serologic analysis. We do not know how many people sick or not are carrying the virus but have never been tested. Info that is not scientifically documented is as useful as a Tweet from Trump.

  181. May be the reason? Don't be ridiculous. Of course it's the diagnostic criteria.

  182. That 14000 new cases would be known as off-balance sheet items in accounting. The new party boss refused to take the job unless they were cleaned up. It won't be long before he starts to hide things of his own. That's how these Communists roll, and the joke is on you if you believe them, or the WHO.

  183. I'm sure no scientist, but doesn't it seem logical to assume that because of the massive increase in "officially reported" cases that not only is 2019-n-CoV capable of being spread by air, contaminated body fluids and feces, it also may be surviving for long periods of time on both hard and soft surfaces that are being touched, coughed near or sneezed near by an infected person, including clothing, desks, doors, handles, windows, countertops, and trash receptacles where discarded contaminated tissues and latex gloves are tossed, etc.

  184. Dear Jan N, The most logical assumption about the increase in officially reported cases is that detection ability is increasing. Last week people with minor symptoms were not being recognized as infected with the coronavirus, this week they are. Thus far there's no indication the virus is fully airborne, it seems to pass through fluids like most of the related viruses.

  185. Could someone including NYTimes shad some light on this. I was just checking WeChat and some friends posted they have seen reports of 6000 people quarantined in southern India. The photos have signs in English and Tamil pointing to “corona isolation ward” and healthcare workers in full protective gears. Numbers from WHO still shows India at 3 cases from 2 weeks ago.

  186. Yeah, it's fake news. Seems there's a cruise ship with about 6,000 on board that's quarantined, but not in India.

  187. @Dan Stackhouse Thanks

  188. I'm amazed that in al the coverage, not one word about the case of Typhoid Mary!

  189. Well, there's no indication of anything similar. People don't contract the coronavirus forever with no symptoms and then pass it around to everybody.

  190. If you think the numbers are bad now just wait until this virus mutates again. I think that is what really has China worried. Weaponizing viruses can go horribly wrong.

  191. Oh please, the numbers aren't bad yet, and aren't likely to get anywhere near the bubonic plague's toll in the 1600's. And nobody weaponized this virus, get real. A weaponized virus is extremely effective, otherwise why bother. The lethality of this virus is barely more than the regular flu. Airborne Ebola would be more like a weaponized virus.

  192. @Hellen Weaponizing virus? LOL ! Here we go again with the fake news.

  193. Time to send The Donald to China. He alone can fix it. And maybe get himself a Nobel Prize or a magazine cover in the process. Also, a good way to distract from proposed funding cuts to CDC. Sounds like a win-win to me.

  194. Reading through the comments, I'm convinced that people really want to be in a full-on panic about this insignificant virus. Maybe lots of Walking Dead fans that are really yearning for that kind of apocalypse, not that it's possible. So I don't know folks, if you want to wear a face mask for no reason, hide under your bed, and attack Asian people out of mindless racism, I guess I can't stop you. It'd be amazing if next year, once this has faded away to nothing like SARS did, you realized how silly and hysterical you were about it, but frankly I don't think most people have that kind of self-awareness.

  195. @Dan Stackhouse What is insignificant about this virus? Is it the transmission rate double that of flu? The fatality rate 20 times that of flu? The lack of effective treatment or vaccine? Look at a chart comparing fatalities over time for SARS and COVID-19 and it's SARS that looks insignificant by comparison.

  196. A lot of people and organizations point the finger of blame for the spreading corona virus epidemic to China and Chinese authorities. I wonder how much more effective the United States would be under the brilliant and humane leadership of Donald Trump. Will we also be quarantined in internment camps along with the illegal immigrants, or perhaps be sent back to where we came from?

  197. NY times, really? The increase is due to using a different standard to count the cases not because of new cases appearing. if this is the quality of journalism NY represents, there is no hope in this country.

  198. @Chris There is large uncertainty but that the official Chinese numbers are low and false is now not in question. The shift to using symptoms and CT scans to confirm cases makes direct comparison of numbers over time problematic. Especially as the Chinese are not using the same case definition over all China now. However it does tell us for sure the case count is way too low and the epidemiological model calculated case count is closer to the true underlying count. Read the lancet article ( The estimate is 75,815 individuals (95% CrI 37,304–130,330) have been infected in Wuhan as of Jan 25, 2020. and use the doubling period of 6 days to arrive at the current case count estimate of over 600,000 cases.

  199. @Chris but it is new cases appearing,whether you test them with a kit or clinically, same thing they have COVID-19, BTW not unusual to diagnose clinically, doctors do it all the time especially if you seen the same symptoms 20 times before.Of course for added assurance you can do the test.

  200. What the experts are saying about the #Coronavirus . OY! “We’re in unknown territory,” “This outbreak could still go in any direction,” “It makes it really confusing right now" “We’re in the dark in terms of knowing what to expect next.”

  201. Does anybody can confirm if this virus confers any kind of post infection temporary or permanent immunity to the patients affected? Is there any reported case of reinfection?Thanks so much.

  202. @Marcos Hardman It's not known Usually there's some post infection immunity after a viral infection. How long that immunity lasts is variable.

  203. Trump is elderly and very obese, in the very highest risk group likely to die from this.

  204. The increase was due to a re-catergorization of suspects. Things are seemingly under control and China is working furiously on all fronts to fight and contain COVID-19. A promising approach is the use of TCM cures. COVID-19 has been used by the Trump Administration and Taiwan's DPP Administration as political weapons to demonize China, which is unfortunate and inhumane. At least the rest of the world is more benign and supportive, offering aid. There is no need for panic about COVID-19. It should be noted that influenza has killed 12,000 Americans this flu season so far, between 10/1/19 and 2/1/20. Each year over 40,000 Americans die from flu, which is astounding. So Americans should not be as arrogant as Wilbur Ross in jeering about the misfortune of China.

  205. Apparently you must have some deep insight into China to counter the devastating news their government is releasing. I don't see anybody gleeful about this situation.

  206. I understand people's comparison with flu, and use this type of argument myself when threats are over stated. But in this case the flu comparison isn't the comfort some claim. Covid-19 is more transmissible than seasonal flu and has a 10-20 times higher fatality rate. So the fact isn't...flu kills 50,000 Americans a year so we shouldn't worry about Covid-19 The fact is...flu already kills 50,000 Americans a year and we've something heading our way which may be more than 20 times worse. With that in mind, some sensible preparation now...right not an over reaction or panic. Smug flu comparisons will not help feed your family when supply chains are stressed.

  207. @Alec Macarthur Spot on.

  208. Can we please not panic over this. The idea that there is now a shortage on N 95 masks is very concerning, Will there be a shortage of the masks in the nations hospitals where they are a critical personal protective equipment? as far as we know 1400 people have died of the novel corona virus worldwide. so far this flu season there have been 12000 deaths in the U.S. alone. Use common sense methods, handwashing, staying away from people exhibiting symptoms and your chances of contracting the virus are minimal.

  209. Over the past ten years, USA deaths have averaged 50,000 just from regular flu. This corona virus is minuscule compared to regular flu. It will continue to be. The media is hysterical and not putting this into a rational perspective. It may effect the Chinese economy over the next few months only. The biggest impact is the USA Elite Democrat Media trying to make this into something big in order to influence the 2020 November general election for the Democrats. The Democrats are desperate and have nothing else.

  210. @Jim LARSEN On one hand, thinking this will impact our economy could be seen as wishful thinking (huh?), but so what? It will be what it will be. There is no question that the virus has impacts on the economy of China, as so much of it is shut down. This is from an abundance of caution. That does not impact the diseases actual lethality or spread. Counter-intuitively, it may be wiser to let everyone get infected with the disease because after that, things can get back to normal. Containing the spread may just as likely extend the damage to the economy of China.

  211. @Jim LARSEN That's like saying bullets are more dangerous than atomic bombs, because they've killed more people. Covid19 has a higher transmission rate and a much higher fatality rate than seasonal flu

  212. @Jim LARSEN You're pretty deep into your cult. The news media does have a tendency to over-hype a scary story like this. This has happened many times in the past. Claiming political motives is plumb silly. We Dems do have something else: a president who's 8% underwater and has been his entire time in office. Oh, and the 2018 results. As for your assertion that this new virus will always be minuscule compared to "regular flu" I certainly hope you're right but you don't seem to have any basis at all for your optimism. Things start small. Sometimes they stay small and sometimes they get bigger.

  213. No one with any common sense believed it was leveling off despite what the paid "experts" stated. China lied in the beginning, is still lying and will attempt lying again. The irony is that their attempt to reclassify how they count cases just backfired and exposed more lying.