Chinese coronavirus: everything you need to know about the new disease

The authorities of the Chinese city of Wuhan have tripled the salaries of workers who are urgently building a new temporary hospital for those infected with the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. It will be commissioned in a week and will take up to 1000 people. 56 cases have died, but the situation has not yet taken on the nature of an epidemic, and WHO hopes to prevent this.

Where did the virus come from?

The first reports of him appeared in late December, leading to a seafood market in Wuhan. He is currently disinfected and there is no more evidence. A DNA study showed a 96 percent match with the coronaviruses that caused SARS-2002 (SARS) and MERS-2012 diseases. Both are descended from bats, and the people of Wuhan are known for their love of this “delicacy”.

This is not SARS

The disease resembles a dangerous disease from the past decade due to the fact that viruses belong to the same family, but that's all. This is a completely new disease, which makes it difficult to analyze. For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that China took into account the negative experience with SARS and, at the very first alarming signals, notified the WHO. But there is a well-founded opinion that local authorities and experts underestimate the scale of the threat due to the lack of reliable information.

How dangerous is the disease?

There is no official answer yet. Among the sick there are patients in both mild and serious condition, no clearly pronounced trends have yet been identified. The mortality rate as of January 25, 2020 is indicated at 4%. In comparison, SARS had 14-15%. The overwhelming majority of those killed are old people with multiple other ailments. In general, the picture is very similar to a typical flu, when many people become infected, but only those whose immunity has been weakened by other factors die.

The infectiousness rate for the 2019-nCoV virus is currently in the range of 1, 4-2, 5. This is a mathematical coefficient that indicates the predicted rate of spread of the disease. That is, one sick person can infect two or more people. Again, for a better idea, with SARS, the indicator was 2-5, which is extremely dangerous, but in practice, a lot depends on the quarantine measures taken. Patients, even if all 11 million residents of Wuhan are affected, will not infect anyone if they do not contact anyone.

Is there a risk of infection outside of China?

The list of countries where the cases were detected, as of 01/25/2020: China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, USA, France. It has been proven that the virus is transmitted from person to person, and since the city of Wuhan and the entire province of Hubei were quarantined only on the eve of January 22, it is very likely that the carriers of the virus managed to disperse far enough. Moreover, now is the time for traditional visits to relatives for the Chinese New Year.

How can I avoid getting infected?

The similarity of illness with the flu dictates the corresponding rules of behavior. First and foremost: wash your hands as often as possible, arrange wet cleaning of the premises, avoid coughing and generally sick people. Wearing a mask is optional, but at least cover your mouth when you sneeze yourself. If you have a fever or any other sign of discomfort, seek immediate medical attention without delay. Ask the same from loved ones, friends, work colleagues, people on public transport, etc. Collective conscious efforts are nullifying the epidemic!

What is WHO doing?

The signatures of the virus have already been sent to the ministries of health of most countries, checking travelers and diagnosing the disease do not cause problems. China voluntarily imposed quarantine and closed travel between a dozen and a half cities, about 46 million people were blocked. Other countries are ready to introduce a travel ban in this region in a matter of hours. However, there is still no vaccine with proven efficacy against this disease; treatment is carried out using the same methods in the case of coronaviruses. The most dangerous now is not the virus itself, but the potential panic and ill-considered actions of people - this must be avoided by any means.