The novel coronavirus that recently emerged in Hubei province, China is called SARS-CoV-2, and it can cause a wide range of symptoms, which may take from two to fourteen days to appear. In some infected individuals, it may cause no symptoms at all. In others, there are respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In some, probably around two percent of those infected or less, death may occur. There have now been about 75,000 cases and more than 2,100 people have died.
A report in The New England Journal of Medicine from researchers that assessed patient samples showed that people who show symptoms and people who are asymptomatic carry similar viral loads. The virus, suggested the authors, may spread in a way that is more like the flu than other coronaviruses.
The illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 is now known as COVID-19, and cases are continuing to rise. Infection clusters are also beginning to appear in countries other than China.
There have been 84 confirmed cases of the virus in Singapore, one of whom has not recently been to China; she has been connected to a large cluster in the country, which impacted members of a church. Two other new cases, one in a 57-year-old woman and the other in a 54-year-old man, also involve individuals who have not been to China recently.
Cases in South Korea have now reached 82. There were 31 new cases confirmed today, and the CDC of South Korea noted that all of them are members of the “same Korean cult.” Five of them have now been linked to one infected individual that is also a member. That infected person attended the same service as around 1,000 other people. The church where the service occurs is now being disinfected.
The number of coronavirus cases in Japan doubled in the past week and is now at 84 (not including the hundreds of people who became infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship). One person in Japan has died from COVID-19. Some of the cases there involve people that were evacuated from Hubei province in China, where the outbreak started. However, most of the infected individuals have not traveled to China recently.
Hong Kong has now confirmed 60 cases of coronavirus infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has opted to issue a travel warning due to SARS-CoV-2; they are stopping short of telling people to avoid travel and are instead suggesting that travelers stay away from sick people, wash their hands frequently, and seek medical attention if they are feeling unwell.
Thailand has confirmed 35 cases of the virus, but there have not been any reports of new cases in the past two days. Malaysia has also reported 22 cases, but the virus appears to be under control there; patients are recovering and no there have not been any deaths.
A CDC warning to avoid all nonessential travel to mainland China is still in place.
Temperature checks at airports, which measure the temperature of people as they walk by a monitor, have not caught the ten cases in which people flew into the country and were later diagnosed with the virus. Four of those people went through the screening and fever was not detected; four flew into airports that do not have the screening in place; information on the other two people was not available.