Coronavirus, almost 17,500 cases. But outbreaks from China are limited

The number of infections of the new coronavirus is more than double that of Sars. But mortality is much lower. Furthermore, the cases outside China are very few, 22 throughout Europe. Here are the data and how to protect yourself

(photo: Stringer via Getty Images)

About 17. 500 cases and 362 deaths , this is the balance sheet on February 3 of those infected by the new coronavirus that originated in China and which then spread with some cases (few, fortunately) to others 23 countries . The infected are to be precise 17. 485 of which beyond 11 thousand in the province of Hubei, which has as its capital Wuhan , where the epidemic started (probably from bats). And there is also the first death outside China , in the Philippines. Here are the new estimates of the danger of the virus, just sequenced at Spallanzani in Rome, among the hospitals in Europe that have succeeded in the operation.

The map updated in real time reveals that the epidemic it is highly concentrated in China and that the other countries affected by the coronavirus have fortunately a very limited number of infected people. Among these, Japan has 20 , Thailand 19, the United States 11, Germany 10, France 6, Canada 4 and Italy and the United Kingdom 2. Sweden and Spain 1. Making a sum, in Europe the cases for now are in all 22 . This trend is also represented quite well by the statistical model recently developed by the University of Southampton.

Coronavirus, the current situation

Italy has closed all flights to and from China. And the plane with has just landed in Pratica di Mare Italians who were stopped in Wuhan and a plane for the repatriation of Chinese tourists who were stranded in China. Meanwhile, China is asking for help because it has “urgent need” of masks and other sanitary materials due to the increased need due to the epidemic. And also the economy, as well as the health systems, is heavily affected: the latest data reported by the Ansa speak of a collapse of Chinese stock exchanges , who lost about 420 in all dollars, according to estimates, with a -8, 13% of that of Shanghai, while Shenzen loses 8.3%.

Coronavirus, the danger of infodemia

In the face of this news and the wide media coverage it can happen to get caught up in fear. But it is good not to give in to psychosis and panic, as we explained a few days ago. Moreover, fear is often fueled by false rumors and fake news circulated on the net. So much so that even the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights this phenomenon, they emphasize that the epidemic was “accompanied by a massive ' infodemia ', or an abundance of information, some accurate and some not, which make it difficult for people find reliable sources when they need it “, as reported by several news agencies.

More SARS cases (almost all in China) but fewer deaths

Currently the coronavirus has largely exceeded the number of cases of recent and known epidemics such as the Sars and the Mers , both caused by other coronaviruses, which counted about 8 thousand respectively and about 2. 500 infected. However, it must be stressed that the mortality rate, that is the number of deaths out of the total number of patients, is now much lower. While that of Sars was equal to 9.6% (i.e. there were about 9 – 10 died on 100) and that of Mers from 34, 4%, the new coronavirus has a mortality rate of 2.1% (approximately 2 dead on 100). Furthermore, the spread in countries outside of China is fortunately limited to a few cases for now.

How the infection occurs

We have known for some time that the infection occurs by human-to-human transmission, but there has been a long discussion in recent days about the fact that even people who have been infected with the virus but who have not yet symptoms can infect other people. WHO points out that the main engine of the infection is that of people with symptoms, while according to WHO, the transmission from asymptomatic patients it is possible although very rare, as reported in a note by the Higher Institute of Health, and therefore it does not appear to be one of the main engines of the infection.

WHO rules for protection

The rules issued by the WHO to protect themselves (also from other viruses) concern the frequent washing of hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water (or alternatively with a disinfectant composed at least of the 60% from alcohol). You must not touch your eyes , nose and mouth with unwashed hands. If you cough or sneeze it is good to use a handkerchief which must then be thrown away. Then, contact your doctor in the presence of respiratory symptoms, indicating if you have recently traveled abroad . And again, avoid consuming food of animal origin raw or only partially cooked and handle them while cooking in order to prevent them from contaminating other raw foods (vegetables, fruit).

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