The number of coronavirus cases diagnosed in China continued to surge Friday after 5,000 more people were diagnosed with the virus and the government reportedly has enforced “wartime” measures in additional cities across Hubei province.
The National Health Commission announced 121 more people had died from the virus. The report comes after 14,840 new cases were confirmed a day earlier with a new testing method. The Washington Post reported that the “wartime” approach means citizens in some areas are barred from leaving their homes.
Roughly 60 percent of Friday’s cases were determined by the new testing, which takes into account a physician’s diagnosis before the infected are confirmed in a lab test.
Despite an increase in cases in Hubei province, the World Health Organization (WHO) says they are not rising dramatically outside of China.
“This does not represent a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s health emergency program.
Paul Hunter, a professor of health protection at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom suspects the trend is still downwards.
“It almost certainly does not mean that there has been a resurgence of the epidemic overnight,” Hunter said.
People wearing protective face masks walk on a street in the rain in Hong Kong, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. COVID-19 viral illness has sickened tens of thousands of people in China since December. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
China has suffered the most thus far from the virus, with 99 percent of the cases. The U.S. has 15 patients including eight in California, one in Texas, one in Wisconsin, one in Arizona, one in Washington state, one in Massachusetts and two in Illinois. No deaths have been reported in the U.S.
A new case was discovered in Texas from an evacuee who arrived in a State Department chartered flight from Wuhan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday.
CDC officials added there will “likely be additional cases in the coming days and weeks, including among other people recently returned from Wuhan.”
The U.S. had announced that Americans who traveled to China within the last 14 days would be sent to designated airports for enhanced screenings. Foreign nationals who recently went to China would be denied entry in the U.S., except for the immediate family of American citizens and permanent residents.
China’s Foreign Ministry had said the U.S. hasn’t given the country any substantive help in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak. They added the U.S. was contributing to the international panic surrounding the illness, according to a report by Reuters.
The WHO declared the outbreak a global emergency as it spreads to countries outside of China and the number of infected patients continues to grow.
Countries around the globe have increased travel restrictions to the infected mainland China and Hubei province — with the U.S. State Department increasing its advisory to level 4: “Do Not Travel.”
The CDC has advised travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to the country.
Medical workers check on the conditions of patients in Jinyintan Hospital, designated for critical COVID-19 patients, in Wuhan.(Chinatopix Via AP)
Coronavirus has now killed almost twice the amount of people in China than were sickened during the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. The SARS outbreak had killed 349 people in mainland China back in 2002 and 2003 — with 744 deaths and 8,096 infections globally, according to the CDC.
Here are the latest figures.
How many have been infected or have died?
The virus has claimed the lives of 1,383 people and infected 64,366 around the globe. Only three people have died outside of China.
Japan announced its first coronavirus death on Thursday. The 80-year-old woman had been in the hospital near Toyko since Feb. 1 after being diagnosed with pneumonia. The news occurred hours after Japan confirmed 44 more infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined outside Toyko.
The other deaths were in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
The WHO said the number of cases will keep growing as tests are pending on thousands of suspected cases.
Where is the virus?
Roughly 99 percent of new cases have appeared in China with the vast majority of the cases in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan — the epicenter of the virus.
Over 515 cases have been reported in at least 25 countries globally. Europe’s total is at 46.
The United Kingdom has nine cases in the country.
Singapore — 58
Thailand — 33
Japan — 28 (218 passengers on Diamond Princess cruise ship outside Yokohama) (1 death)
South Korea — 28
Taiwan — 18
Malaysia — 18
Australia — 15
Germany — 16
Vietnam — 16
France — 11
United Arab Emirates — 8
Canada — 7
India — 3
Italy — 3
Philippines — 3 (1 death)
Russia — 2
Spain — 1
Sweden — 1
Belgium — 1
Nepal — 1
Sri Lanka — 1
Cambodia — 1
Hong Kong — 51 (1 death)
Macao — 10
Differences between coronavirus and the flu?
The flu has estimated to have killed roughly 10,000 to 25,000 people with nearly 19 to 26 million infected in the U.S. between October 1, 2019, and January 25, 2020, according to the CDC. Coronavirus has impacted a far lesser number, although it’s not yet clear how many have been infected or how widespread it is.
Medical staff work in the negative-pressure isolation ward in Jinyintan Hospital, designated for critical COVID-19 patients, in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (Chinatopix Via AP)
There have also been reports it can be spread without symptoms showing up. In respiratory illnesses, people with the most symptoms are the most contagious, the agency said. Children and those over 65 are the most likely to get sick from the flu, the CDC added.
Unlike the coronavirus, there’s a seasonal vaccine for the flu. People over six months out are advised by the agency to get it during annual vaccination, with certain rare exceptions, such as severe allergies to the shot.
No vaccine has been developed for coronavirus as of yet, which makes it dangerous in that respect.
How did it start?
It’s not entirely clear how it started, but Chinese scientists believe the virus may have originated in bats. The pangolin, a type of scaly anteater was reported to be a possible host, according to a Chinese University. A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology said that genome sequences from seven patients tested were identical to the bat coronavirus.
How does it transmit?
It’s believed the normal coronavirus can be transmitted most commonly through respiratory droplets in the air, as well as close contact with an infected person or touching areas contaminated with the virus before washing. The digestive tract may also transmit the disease, according to scientists from the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Science.
They recently discovered “virus genetic material” in feces samples and rectal swabs from some patients, Chinese state media reported.
What are the current travel restrictions?
The U.S. declared the coronavirus a public health emergency with Trump signing an order barring entry to foreign nationals who recently were in China, other than the immediate family of American citizens and permanent residents.
Officials at the CDC have advised travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. The U.S. State Department raised its China travel advisory to “Level 4: Do Not Travel.”
“Those currently in China should consider departing using commercial means. The Department of State has requested that all non-essential U.S. government personnel defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus,” The advisory said.
Vietnam stopped all flights to and from China.
Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia all have similar policies to the U.S. on restricting non-citizens.
Mongolia and Singapore have shut their borders.
Singapore said it would ban travelers from China’s Hubei province.
Pakistan says they’re halting all flights to and from China
The United Kingdom and New Zealand advised their people against nonessential travel to China.
A security guard wearing a protective face mask checks the temperature of a cleaning woman in Hong Kong, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. COVID-19 viral illness has sickened tens of thousands of people in China since December. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Russia has signed an order to close the border between them and China. They also blocked tour groups from China.
China has cut off access to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, trapping more than 50 million people
Hong Kong quarantining visitors from mainland China
Japan bars foreign nationals who had been to Hubei province.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean denying boarding of people who travel to China within 14 days.
Italy suspended all flights to China.
South Korea urged an increase in its level of caution to “restraint” when traveling to China.
Hong Kong reduced half its flights and shut down rail service to mainland China.
Cathay Pacific Airways asks 27,000 employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave.
Delta suspended all service to China.
United Airlines suspends all flights between China and the U.S.
United’s pilots, concerned for their safety, were able to drop trips to China without pay, a union memo said, according to Reuters.
American Airlines suspends all flights to China.
The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents 15,000 pilots for American Airlines filed a lawsuit to halt service with the airline, citing “serious, and in many ways still unknown, health threats posed by the coronavirus.”
“I am directing all APA pilots to cease flight operations between the United States and China,” said APA president Eric Ferguson. “Until further notice, if you are scheduled, assigned, or reassigned a pairing into China, decline the assignment by calling your Chief Pilot or IOC Duty Pilot. Inform them you are declining in accordance with the CDC and WHO declarations.”
British Airways suspended all flights to and from mainland China.
Virgin Atlantic suspending operations to Shanghai
Lufthansa suspending flights to and from China
Residents wearing masks wait at a traffic light in Beijing, China Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. China is struggling to restart its economy after the annual Lunar New Year holiday was extended to try to keep people home and contain novel coronavirus. Traffic remained light in Beijing, and many people were still working at home. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)