News and Commentary

Coronavirus Rapidly Spreading; Deaths Predicted To Be In Thousands
WUHAN, CHINA - JANUARY 26 2020: Medical staff help a patient walk into the hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.-
Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

New reports from the Chinese government indicate that the number of people who have been infected by the coronavirus jumped from 2,700 yesterday to over 4,500 today as the number of people who have died from the outbreak is now well over 100.

“China on Tuesday reported 25 more deaths from a new viral disease, raising the total to at least 106, as the U.S. government prepared to fly Americans out of the city at the center of the outbreak,” The Associated Press reported. “There were 1,771 new cases confirmed on Monday, raising the national total to 4,515, according to the National Health Commission. It said 976 were in serious condition.”

The Washington Post reported that “a scientific assessment of the spread of the disease, assuming an optimistic 90 percent quarantine, still predicted more than 59,000 infections and 1,500 deaths — twice the toll of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak.”

The New York Times reported yesterday that the rapid spread of the virus led China’s communist government to expanding its quarantine to an “unprecedented scope affecting 56 million people.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised its travel warning to China to its highest-level, strongly encouraging Americans to not travel to the communist nation.

“CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China,” The CDC said in a statement. “In response to an outbreak of respiratory illness, Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province, including buses, subways, trains, and the international airport. Additional restrictions and cancellations of events may occur. There is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.”

The Daily Wire reported yesterday that Ma Xiaowei, director of China’s National Health Commission, indicated that those who are infected with the virus but who are not yet showing symptoms may still be able to infect other people, making containment significantly harder.

“The epidemic is now entering a more serious and complex period,” Ma said on Sunday. “It looks like it will continue for some time, and the number of cases may increase.”

The Daily Wire reported on Saturday that Eric Toner, a scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Business Insider that he was not surprised by the rapid spread of the virus, and that he thinks millions of people could die from the virus based on a scientific model he created just a few months ago.

“Toner’s simulation of a hypothetical deadly coronavirus pandemic suggested that after six months, nearly every country in the world would have cases of the virus,” Business Insider reported. “Within 18 months, 65 million people could die.”

China is in the process of building a massive nearly 270,000 square foot hospital to respond to the crisis that it expects to be completed in the next few days.

Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, told BBC: “China has a record of getting things done fast even for monumental projects like this. This authoritarian country relies on this top down mobilization approach. They can overcome bureaucratic nature and financial constraints and are able to mobilize all of the resources. The engineering work is what China is good at. They have records of building skyscrapers at speed. This is very hard for westerners to imagine. It can be done.”

This report has been updated to include additional information.

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