A collection of key developments in the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus (nCoV-2019), posted throughout the week for those who just want the signal and not the noise. If there’s something you think we should include, sound off in the comments thread attached to the post.
Visit our Wuhan coronavirus status page and learn how to prepare for possible spread to your area. Scenarios, shopping lists, background info, and everything else you need, all in one place.
Previously: The previous day’s key developments post is here.
[9:01 pm] There is a new presumptive case in British Columbia. The person came in from Shanghai and had not contact with Hubei province. This is only a single data point, but it seems to indicate community transmission in Shanghai. [9:01 pm] I wish I could find the non-paywalled version of this article, because it looks great:
[8:59 pm] Singapore adds nine more cases, today. [8:57 pm] China is mandating that everyone entering Beijing self-quarantine for 14 days. [8:55 pm] Coronavirus victim attended conference in London with 250 people. “London’s first Coronavirus patient arrived at hospital in an Uber, contrary to public health advice.” [8:54 pm] Related to the question of the virus’s apparent low impact in children, here’s a new study in infants that looks really good. None of the nine cases reported required intensive care. [4:56 pm] Here’s what coronavirus does to the body. “From blood storms to honeycomb lungs, here’s an organ-by-organ look at how COVID-19 harms humans.” [4:50 pm] Africa CDC establishes continent-wide task force to respond to global coronavirus epidemic [2:52 pm] A lengthy look at the efforts to model the disease outbreak. This includes some welcome realism about the problems with the official Chinese numbers. [1:16 pm] They Documented the Coronavirus Crisis in Wuhan. Then They Vanished. “Two video bloggers whose dispatches from the heart of the outbreak showed fear, grief and dissatisfaction with the government have gone silent.” [12:32 pm] Another story on the virus’s economic impact, this time an attempt at an overview. How China’s coronavirus epidemic could hurt the world economy [12:30 pm] The virus is now confirmed in Egypt. [12:27 pm] The situation in Wuhan continues to be just chaos. A total mess, and the Chinese government’s heavy-handed response is making it so much worse. The New York Times reports: China Expands Chaotic Dragnet in Coronavirus Crackdown.
The coming biosecurity state — How the COVID-19 epidemic and the government cleanup of its aftermath will probably lead to invasive new forms of surveillance https://t.co/1qo0lcXcW6 An article by me. Behind a paywall, so here’s a thread:
— Jeremy Goldkorn (@goldkorn) February 14, 2020
[12:35 pm] In yesterday’s update we linked a story with a quote from Harvard’s Marc Lipsitch to the effect that we’re likely to see 40 percent to 70 percent of people worldwide infected in the coming year. In this twitter thread, Lipsitch expands on that forecast and provides important context for it:
But the campaign, first announced last week in the city of Wuhan, already has been marred by chaotic conditions that have isolated vulnerable patients without adequate care and, in some cases, left them alone to die…
In their zeal to execute the edict, officials in Wuhan, a metropolis of 11 million, have haphazardly seized patients who have not yet tested positive for the coronavirus, in some cases herding them onto buses with no protective measures where they risked infection from others, their relatives said.
After that, patients have been sent to makeshift medical facilities that don’t provide the support they need to recover. With little to no dedicated medical staff on hand to help, some patients die.
[12:21 pm] The CDC director thinks the virus will go pandemic and endemic in the US. This is basically the worst-case scenario, if true. Then we’re in the realm of “so what’s the fatality rate, and the percentage of cases that will need hospitalization?” [12:18 pm] Yesterday’s update had a link to video of former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottleib’s Senate testimony on the coronavirus and the likelihood of a US pandemic. Now there’s a printout of the remarks, if you’d rather read than watch. [12:12 pm] In some of our earliest dispatches from Beijing, we reported on this phenomenon of people turning to WeChat to beg for help with supplies and caring for sick loved ones. The South China Morning Post has a lot more on this in a big story. [12:10 pm] We’ve been following the alarming lack of known coronavirus infections in Indonesia since last week — they’re a major trade and tourism partner with China, and they have the world’s fourth largest population. So there is no way this disease isn’t there, which means we have big surveillance gaps. Anyway, there’s a good primer on the Indonesia situation so far. [12:10 pm] A good overview of the hotly contested question of aerosol transmission of the virus. We still don’t know, but it’s possible. [12:09 pm] The testing kits for the coronavirus that the CDC is sending out don’t actually work. [12:08 pm] More on healthcare system supply chain problems, this time in India. The coronavirus effect: Dependence on Chinese raw materials puts Indian drug makers at risk. “The outbreak has severely hit China’s Hubei province, which is home to thousands of people who work at the factories that produce the raw materials. These workers are now either quarantined or unable to get to work. If raw-material supply to the global pharma industry stalls, the world will face a crisis unlike ever before.” [12:07 pm] Coronavirus’ Assault on Wuhan Mental Hospital Alarms Experts. “Experts are for calling for more stringent measures to protect people with psychological conditions after at least 80 patients and staff at a mental health facility in Wuhan contracted the coronavirus that has now killed more than 1,300 people in China and infected over 60,000 worldwide.” [12:04 pm] There are likely many fatalities related to COVID-19 that aren’t directly from infections, but are because the healthcare system is overloaded with both infected patients and “worried well”, so that people who are seriously ill with other problems are crowded out.
I did actually say the quote that is going around, but the article contained vital context — we don't know what proportion are symptomatic. Also we have only a rough estimate of what proportion of symptomatic people will have severe outcomes. pic.twitter.com/cWzvINSZBm
— Marc Lipsitch (@mlipsitch) February 14, 2020
This is definitely happening in Hubei, and will happen in other places the virus takes hold.
[11:40 am] More and more stories coming out on the economic impact of the coronavirus. It’s just getting started, too. China’s Shipping Nears a Standstill Amid Coronavirus Disruption [11:39 am] Don’t forget to add this to your pile of pandemic preps. Toilet Paper Is the Hot New Currency in Singapore and Hong Kong [11:36 am] A Catastrophic Drop in Tourism Haunts Hong Kong in the New Year “In the wake of protests and a deepening recession, workers fear for their jobs as shops and restaurants are starved of revenue from visiting mainlanders.”
The situation of patients with other severe diseases in Hubei is getting more dire each day. Cancer patients can't get chemotherapy; uremia patients nowhere to get dialysis. Many are posting on weibo appealing for help with the hashtag "novel coronavirus secondary disaster". pic.twitter.com/SkZLIJEWia
— Chenchen Zhang (@chenchenzh) February 10, 2020