Communist China has expanded its quarantine around the area that is at the center of the coronavirus outbreak as several major cities have canceled work for the next couple of weeks in hopes of stopping the virus from spreading.
“A top Chinese health official warned on Sunday that the spread of the dangerous new coronavirus, already extraordinarily rapid, is accelerating further, deepening global fears about an illness that has sickened more than 2,700 people worldwide and killed at least 80 people in China,” The New York Times reported. “The grim diagnosis came amid concerns that China’s efforts to contain the spread of the disease, despite a lockdown of unprecedented scope affecting 56 million people, may not only have come too late but could even make the situation worse, including by exacerbating shortages of medical supplies.”
Ma Xiaowei, director of China’s National Health Commission, said that Chinese officials have learned 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 of the virus a significantly harder goal to achieve.
“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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the following statement about the outbreak:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in more than a thousand confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan City. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States, where 5 cases in travelers from Wuhan have been confirmed in four states (AZ, CA, IL, WA) as of January 26, 2020. There are ongoing investigations to learn more.
The CDC later added that while there have not been any reported cases of “person-to-person spread in the United States” up to this point that “it’s likely to occur to some extent.”
Multiple Chinese cities that have massive populations have canceled work until nearly mid-February in an effort to keep people from having contact with each other in hopes of stopping the spread of the virus.
Shanghai (pop 24 million) has cancelled work until February 9. Suzhou (pop 11 million) already cancelled work until February 8. I'm sure other cities will as well. Plan seems to be have everyone stay home for 14 days to see who has the virus. https://t.co/kxhGLJZd4I
— Steve Lookner (@lookner) January 27, 2020
Dr. William Schaffner, a longtime adviser to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicated that the news was a “game changer,” saying, “When I heard this, I thought, ‘oh dear, this is worse than we anticipated.’ It means the infection is much more contagious than we originally thought.”
“The rapidly spreading virus has led the Chinese government to spearhead a highly ambitious project of building a 269,000 square foot hospital in six days that is capable of holding 1,000 infected patients,” The Daily Wire reported on Saturday.
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.”