Cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus are now popping up all over the world, with full-blown outbreaks and quarantines taking place in Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, with numerous deaths in each area. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been hesitant to officially call this outbreak a pandemic, but at a press conference this week, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that nations around the world should start preparing as if they were dealing with an active pandemic.
Meanwhile, Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch has predicted in an interview with the Atlantic, that the virus will eventually infect somewhere between 40 and 70 percent of the entire world, because it has now become “uncontainable.” However, Lipsitch does not believe that the virus will be deadly to all of these people, because some cases of the illness will be mild or nonsymptomatic.
Watch this video of the #Coronavirus breakout starting at day 19, compared to other pandemics of the last 20 years – and you'll see why the DOW tanked yesterday & is again today – https://t.co/aTxrqyyUcs
— NRao (@kamireddynrao) February 25, 2020
A case study published this week by Chinese researchers in the journal JAMA has shown that a 20-year-old woman from Wuhan passed the illness on to five of her family members but never became sick herself. To make matters even more confusing, the young woman initially tested negative for the illness before testing positive days later.
Doctors believe that the woman from the recent case study had an incubation period of 19 days. Other studies have suggested that the time of incubation could be up to 24 or even 27 days.
Governments around the world are doing their best to keep the public calm as the illness continues to spread. In Iran, the country’s health minister appeared at a press conference to insist that the government had the outbreak under control. It was noted that the minister appeared to be ill himself during the press conference, and was diagnosed with the coronavirus just a day later.
Iran's health minister appeared at a press conference profusely sweating but insisting Iran had coronavirus under control.
Just a day later, he tested positive for coronavirus himself
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) February 25, 2020
During a media briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, warned that Americans should prepare for a wider spread of the virus within the United States.
“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen any more, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” Messonnier said.
The White House is seeking $1.25 billion in emergency funding to combat the virus, and health experts are warning that Americans should be expecting to have “significant disruptions” to their everyday lives. There are at least 53 confirmed cases in the United States, which includes the people who were recently evacuated from the Diamond Princess Cruise ship and other areas overseas, as well as those who are quarantined at the high-security containment facility at the Nebraska Medical Center.
There are now over 80,000 confirmed cases of the illness all over the world, and over 2,700 lives have been taken by the virus so far, but there have been fears that these numbers do not include a large number of asymptomatic cases or people who passed away in quarantine.