The coronavirus that has ravaged Wuhan province in China, now known as COVID-19 as , has affected more than 73,450 people, killing 1,875 with only 10 of those deaths anywhere outside of China. Meanwhile 13,147 people have recovered from the COVID-19 so far.
Science News reported today that scientists are noting few, if any infants have contracted the illness at all. Whether they are genetically less likely to be affected, or are simply less exposed is not yet known. Even in cases where one parent has become ill, children apparently have not.
There are 29 known cases in the United States today. By comparison, more than 500 people have contracted the virus aboard just one cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, now docked in Japan.
About one-quarter of the 2,000 people on board have become ill. 300 Americans were evacuated from the ship this week this week, including 14 who were found to be infected. Their arrival in the U.S. effectively doubled the total number of confirmed infections here. All remain either in quarantine at U.S. military bases or under hospital care.
According to the World Health Organization, between 16-21 percent of those who contracted the disease in China have become severely ill. 2-3 percent have died. WHO has struggled to get information from the Chinese government, which at times has seemed more concerned with controlling the news flow on the story than the contagion.
Epidemiologists around the world, who charted Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), say their data projections for COVID-19 to date are much higher than what China has reported.
This past week, after a couple of days decline in numbers of new cases in China came a huge single-day increase which startled many people. This sort of thing is not uncommon as scientists and public health officials struggle to keep the reporting system ahead of new fast-moving diseases which are not yet fully understood. COVID-19 was unknown to the world before it was first identified on December 12, 2019, barely two months ago.
Richard A. Lee is the author of the technothriller “HIGH GROUND”