“Likely to become a pandemic”

I believe that many media outlets have been significantly downplaying the seriousness of the Wuhan virus situation. The New York Times is a notable exception. Today we learn that many scientists view the globally spreading virus, which has infected perhaps 100,000 people and has an estimated mortality rate of 2%, as a probable pandemic and possible catastrophe:

The Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe, according to many of the world’s leading infectious disease experts.

The prospect is daunting. A pandemic — an ongoing epidemic on two or more continents — may well have global consequences, despite the extraordinary travel restrictions and quarantines now imposed by China and other countries, including the United States.

Scientists do not yet know how lethal the new coronavirus is, however, so there is uncertainty about how much damage a pandemic might cause. But there is growing consensus that the pathogen is readily transmitted between humans.

The Wuhan coronavirus is spreading more like influenza, which is highly transmissible, than like its slow-moving viral cousins, SARS and MERS, scientists have found.

“It’s very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

“But will it be catastrophic? I don’t know.”

Well, that’s reassuring. Not to be alarmist, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and it may be time for individuals in America – particularly those in major, globally connected population centers – to start thinking about sensible measures to reduce their exposure during a potential outbreak. Good question to ask yourself: what would you do if your town/city became Wuhan?

Meanwhile:

Good question from LZ (website here):

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