Coronavirus: Monday’s WHO update

  • 80% of patients have mild symptoms
  • 14% suffer complications such as pneumonia
  • 5% are critical, the disease being fatal to 2%

Reporters in Geneva were told that COVID-19 appears to be “not as deadly as other coronaviruses including SARS and MERS,” with a clearer picture emerging as to the details and scope of the problem.

Outside China, the WHO has received reports of 694 cases from 25 countries, including 3 deaths. Children are apparently not suffering from COVID-19 in the same way adults are, the risk of fatality increasing with age.

Epidemic or Pandemic?

When asked to clarify whether the world was now facing a pandemic, Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO Emergencies Programme, explained the issue was really “whether we’re seeing efficient community transmission outside of China, and at the present time we’re not observing that”.

Diamond Princess

Dr Sylvie Briand, speaking as one of the three WHO panel experts, explained the organisation was working with the Japanese and that their focus was “on our public health objective that we contain the virus and not contain the people”.

As of earlier today, there has been a total of 70,635 cases of COVID-19 together with 1,772 deaths. In the past 24 hours, China has reported 2,051 new infections which includes clinically and lab confirmed cases. More than 90% of all new case reports come from the Chinese province of Hubei, the capital city of which is Wuhan.

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