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posted by janrinok on Saturday February 08 2020, @06:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the sick-and-tired-of-being-sick-and-tired dept.

Editor's Comment: The figures and statistics regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak are changing daily and there are differences between reports from different sources. The latest figures, which we believe to be from a reputable source and which are being regularly updated, can be found at the worldometers. If you have a favourite site for updated information please leave a link in the comments.

Chinese Whistleblower Doctor Dies Due to Coronavirus

Li Wenliang: Coronavirus kills Chinese whistleblower doctor

A Chinese doctor who tried to issue the first warning about the deadly coronavirus outbreak has died, the hospital treating him has said. Li Wenliang contracted the virus while working at Wuhan Central Hospital. He had sent out a warning to fellow medics on 30 December but police told him to stop "making false comments".

There had been contradictory reports about his death, but the People's Daily now says he died at 02:58 on Friday (18:58 GMT Thursday).

The virus has killed 636 people and infected 31,161 in mainland China, the National Health Commission's latest figures show. The death toll includes 73 new deaths reported on Thursday.

An AC writes:

Wuhan hospital announces death of whistleblower doctor after confusion in state media

This story has been updated to reflect the latest statement from Wuhan Central Hospital, after confusion in state media reports.

Li died of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan in the early hours of Friday morning (local time).

"Our hospital's ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was unfortunately infected with coronavirus during his work in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic," the latest hospital statement read.

"He died at 2:58 am on Feb 7 after attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful."

Earlier on Thursday night, several state media outlets had reported Li's death, following which Chinese social media erupted in profound grief and anger.

Wuhan Seafood Market May Not be Source of Novel Virus Spreading Globally

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/wuhan-seafood-market-may-not-be-source-novel-virus-spreading-globally

As confirmed cases of a novel virus surge around the world with worrisome speed, all eyes have so far focused on a seafood market in Wuhan, China, as the origin of the outbreak. But a description of the first clinical cases published in The Lancet on Friday challenges that hypothesis.

The paper, written by a large group of Chinese researchers from several institutions, offers details about the first 41 hospitalized patients who had confirmed infections with what has been dubbed 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). In the earliest case, the patient became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. "No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases," they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace. "That's a big number, 13, with no link," says Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University.

[...] Bin Cao of Capital Medical University, the corresponding author of The Lancet article and a pulmonary specialist, wrote in an email to ScienceInsider that he and his co-authors "appreciate the criticism" from Lucey.

"Now It seems clear that [the] seafood market is not the only origin of the virus," he wrote. "But to be honest, we still do not know where the virus came from now."

Lucey notes that the discovery of the coronavirus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome, a sometimes fatal disease that occurs sporadically, came from a patient in Saudi Arabia in June 2012, although later studies traced it back to an earlier hospital outbreak of unexplained pneumonia in Jordan in April 2012. Stored samples from two people who died in Jordan confirmed they had been infected with the virus. Retrospective analyses of blood samples in China from people and animals—including vendors from other animal markets—may reveal a clear picture of where the 2019-nCoV originated, he suggests. "There might be a clear signal among the noise," he says.

Canada: You are More Likely to Commit Suicide than Die from Coronavirus

5 things more likely to kill you in Canada than coronavirus:

Cases of the new coronavirus strain have topped 20,000 around the world, spurring health and travel concerns, a flurry of xenophobic and insensitive social media posts, and high demand for face masks.

For all that it's an international public health emergency that's killed more than 400 people (mostly in mainland China), the risk for people in Canada remains low. As of Feb. 4, nobody here has died. Globally the fatality rate is close to three per cent, which is less than SARS, which hit in 2003 and had a global fatality rate of 9.6 per cent (12.4 per cent in Canada).

[...] "What should you worry about?" says Jeffrey S. Rosenthal, a University of Toronto statistics professor and author of Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities, which came out following the SARS epidemic.

In order of decreasing likelihood, the top 5 are:

  1. Cancer
  2. Cardiovascular Disease
  3. Accidents, including a car crash
  4. The flu
  5. Suicide

[...] Every year thousands of people in Canada die by suicide — a figure experts say is conservative at best. In 2018, 3,811 people died by suicide. And yet, it is preventable, experts say, if we keep fighting stigma, connecting the data, and working to ensure everyone has access to the treatment they need.

Coronavirus News is Being Manipulated By Pro- and Anti-China Actors.

Readers should be highly skeptical of all news content relating to the current coronavirus pandemic. It is obvious that powerful state actors are involved in setting conflicting narratives on this subject and no news outlet or social media should be trusted implicitly.

For example, news outlets have been reporting that the official numbers of suspected, infected, dead, and recovered patients have been manipulated. See

Tencent may have accidentally leaked real data on Wuhan virus deaths

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As many experts question the veracity of China's statistics for the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, Tencent over the weekend appeared to inadvertently release what is potentially the actual number of infections and deaths — which are far higher than official figures, but eerily in line with predictions from a respected scientific journal.

As early as Jan. 26, netizens were reporting that Tencent, on its webpage titled "Epidemic Situation Tracker," briefly showed data on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China that was much higher than official estimates, before suddenly switching to lower numbers. Hiroki Lo, a 38-year-old Taiwanese beverage store owner, that day reported that Tencent and NetEase were both posting "unmodified statistics," before switching to official numbers in short order.

[...] On late Saturday evening (Feb. 1), the Tencent webpage showed confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus in China as standing at 154,023, 10 times the official figure at the time. It listed the number of suspected cases as 79,808, four times the official figure.

The number of cured cases was only 269, well below the official number that day of 300. Most ominously, the death toll listed was 24,589, vastly higher than the 300 officially listed that day.

Moments later, Tencent updated the numbers to reflect the government's "official" numbers that day. Netizens noticed that Tencent has on at least three occasions posted extremely high numbers, only to quickly lower them to government-approved statistics.

Website Image [63kB]

Netizens also noticed that each time the screen with the large numbers appears, a comparison with the previous day's data appears above, which demonstrates a "reasonable" incremental increase, much like the official numbers. This has led some netizens to speculate that Tencent has two sets of data, the real data and "processed" data.

Some are speculating that a coding problem could be causing the real "internal" data to accidentally appear. Others believe that someone behind the scenes is trying to leak the real numbers.

However, the "internal" data held by Beijing may not reflect the true extent of the epidemic. According to multiple sources in Wuhan, many coronavirus patients are unable to receive treatment and die outside of hospitals.

A severe shortage of test kits also leads to a lower number of diagnosed cases of infection and death. In addition, there have been many reports of doctors being ordered to list other forms of death instead of coronavirus to keep the death toll artificially low.

Tencent condemns social media sources for doctoring images of their "Epidemic Situation Tracker" and inflating data of coronavirus deaths and infections

It appears that Tencent Holdings Ltd. denies claims it had posted much much larger Novel CoronaVirus (2019-nCoV) numbers than those issued in official Chinese reports. According to DimSum Daily (Hong Kong):

6th February 2020 – (Hong Kong) We reported this afternoon that Tencent may have accidentally leaked real data on coronavirus deaths i.e. 154,023 infections and 24,589 deaths, according to Taiwan News.

In response, spokesperson for Tencent in Hong Kong wrote a reply to Dimsumdaily this evening and explained that the Tencent News "Epidemic Situation Tracker" reports real-time data from China' s National Health Commission and various Municipal Health Commissions across China.

[...] Unfortunately, several social media sources have circulated doctored images of their "Epidemic Situation Tracker" featuring false information which Tencent never published.

Similar claims were posted by The Hindu Business Online, except that they claimed (without providing any links):

Reacting to the news report, Tencent Global, in a series of tweets, said: "Unfortunately, several social media sources have circulated doctored images of our 'Epidemic Situation Tracker' featuring false information which we never published.

"Tencent uses technology for good and is disappointed with this type of unscrupulous behavior. Tencent does not condone the dissemination of inaccurate information and fake news, especially during this sensitive period."

Study Claiming New Coronavirus Can be Transmitted by People Without Symptoms Was Flawed

stormwyrm [soylentnews.org] writes:

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has so far infected nearly 25,000 people and killed close to 500 as of February 5 [PDF], and has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization. Scientific investigation of the new disease and its properties continues, and there has been an alleged case of transmission of the virus from someone not exhibiting symptoms, from a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine last January 30. If true this would make controlling the spread of the disease more difficult. However, subsequent investigation has shown serious flaws in the report. From Science Magazine:

A paper published on 30 January in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) about the first four people in Germany infected with a novel coronavirus made many headlines because it seemed to confirm what public health experts feared: that someone who has no symptoms from infection with the virus, named 2019-nCoV, can still transmit it to others. That might make controlling the virus much harder.

Chinese researchers had previously suggested asymptomatic people might transmit the virus but had not presented clear-cut evidence. "There's no doubt after reading [the NEJM] paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring," Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told journalists. "This study lays the question to rest."

But now, it turns out that information was wrong. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German government's public health agency, has written a letter to NEJM to set the record straight, even though it was not involved in the paper.

The letter in NEJM described a cluster of infections that began after a businesswoman from Shanghai visited a company near Munich on 20 and 21 January, where she had a meeting with the first of four people who later fell ill. Crucially, she wasn't sick at the time: "During her stay, she had been well with no sign or symptoms of infection but had become ill on her flight back to China," the authors wrote. "The fact that asymptomatic persons are potential sources of 2019-nCoV infection may warrant a reassessment of transmission dynamics of the current outbreak."

But the researchers didn't actually speak to the woman before they published the paper. The last author, Michael Hoelscher of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich Medical Center, says the paper relied on information from the four other patients: "They told us that the patient from China did not appear to have any symptoms." Afterward, however, RKI and the Health and Food Safety Authority of the state of Bavaria did talk to the Shanghai patient on the phone, and it turned out she did have symptoms while in Germany. According to people familiar with the call, she felt tired, suffered from muscle pain, and took paracetamol, a fever-lowering medication. (An RKI spokesperson would only confirm to Science that the woman had symptoms.)

Other reports from The Scientist and Ars Technica. This doesn't mean that asymptomatic transmission of 2019-nCoV is not happening, but even if it does, so far it appears that it is likely not a major driver of transmission [pdf].

China Takes Desperate, "Wartime" Measures to Stop Coronavirus in Wuhan

China takes desperate, "wartime" measures to stop coronavirus in Wuhan:

Chinese authorities in Wuhan Thursday said that they will conduct door-to-door home searches for people potentially infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and corral the sick into massive, makeshift quarantine camps around the city, according to a report in the New York Times.

These latest extreme outbreak control measures are on top of already draconian travel restrictions and shutdowns of public transit, which have effectively isolated Wuhan—a city of 11 million where the explosive outbreak began—as well as other highly populated cities in the Hubei province. Overall, the lockdown has made it difficult to get food and supplies to Hubei's 50 million residents, contributing to a humanitarian crisis that is now swelling from Wuhan in the wake of the virus.

[...] Reports from Wuhan suggest that medical staff are running short of personal protective equipment, medicines, and supplies to test patients for the 2019-nCoV. According to the Times, many Wuhan residents who have respiratory symptoms have been forced to go from hospital to hospital, on foot, to try to get tested. Many are turned away, untested and untreated.

Moreover, experts fear that penning potentially infected people in large quarantine camps—set up in a sports stadium, an exhibition center, and a building complex—with minimal medical care could make the sick sicker and let the whole gamut of infectious diseases run rampant among the confined people.

Still, Chinese authorities seemed resolute to take whatever extreme actions they see as useful to get a grip on the outbreak. Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who visited Wuhan Thursday and announced the new control measures, said that the city and country face "wartime conditions."

To get an equivalent number of people under quarantine, one would need to lock down every single person in the 50-largest cities in the United States:

+----+----------------------------------+-----------+------------+
|RANK| CITY, STATE                      |  CITY POP |  TOTAL POP |
+----+----------------------------------+-----------+------------+
| 01 | New York, New York               | 8,398,748 |  8,398,748 |
| 02 | Los Angeles, California          | 3,990,456 | 12,389,204 |
| 03 | Chicago, Illinois                | 2,705,994 | 15,095,198 |
| 04 | Houston, Texas                   | 2,325,502 | 17,420,700 |
| 05 | Phoenix, Arizona                 | 1,660,272 | 19,080,972 |
| 06 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania       | 1,584,138 | 20,665,110 |
| 07 | San Antonio, Texas               | 1,532,233 | 22,197,343 |
| 08 | San Diego, California            | 1,425,976 | 23,623,319 |
| 09 | Dallas, Texas                    | 1,345,047 | 24,968,366 |
| 10 | San Jose, California             | 1,030,119 | 25,998,485 |
| 11 | Austin, Texas                    |   964,254 | 26,962,739 |
| 12 | Jacksonville, Florida            |   903,889 | 27,866,628 |
| 13 | Fort Worth, Texas                |   895,008 | 28,761,636 |
| 14 | Columbus, Ohio                   |   892,533 | 29,654,169 |
| 15 | San Francisco, California        |   883,305 | 30,537,474 |
| 16 | Charlotte, North Carolina        |   872,498 | 31,409,972 |
| 17 | Indianapolis, Indiana            |   867,125 | 32,277,097 |
| 18 | Seattle, Washington              |   744,955 | 33,022,052 |
| 19 | Denver, Colorado                 |   716,492 | 33,738,544 |
| 20 | Washington, District of Columbia |   702,455 | 34,440,999 |
| 21 | Boston, Massachusetts            |   694,583 | 35,135,582 |
| 22 | El Paso, Texas                   |   682,669 | 35,818,251 |
| 23 | Detroit, Michigan                |   672,662 | 36,490,913 |
| 24 | Nashville, Tennessee             |   669,053 | 37,159,966 |
| 25 | Portland, Oregon                 |   653,115 | 37,813,081 |
| 26 | Memphis, Tennessee               |   650,618 | 38,463,699 |
| 27 | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma          |   649,021 | 39,112,720 |
| 28 | Las Vegas, Nevada                |   644,644 | 39,757,364 |
| 29 | Louisville, Kentucky             |   620,118 | 40,377,482 |
| 30 | Baltimore, Maryland              |   602,495 | 40,979,977 |
| 31 | Milwaukee, Wisconsin             |   592,025 | 41,572,002 |
| 32 | Albuquerque, New Mexico          |   560,218 | 42,132,220 |
| 33 | Tucson, Arizona                  |   545,975 | 42,678,195 |
| 34 | Fresno, California               |   530,093 | 43,208,288 |
| 35 | Mesa, Arizona                    |   508,958 | 43,717,246 |
| 36 | Sacramento, California           |   508,529 | 44,225,775 |
| 37 | Atlanta, Georgia                 |   498,044 | 44,723,819 |
| 38 | Kansas City, Missouri            |   491,918 | 45,215,737 |
| 39 | Colorado Springs, Colorado       |   472,688 | 45,688,425 |
| 40 | Miami, Florida                   |   470,914 | 46,159,339 |
| 41 | Raleigh, North Carolina          |   469,298 | 46,628,637 |
| 42 | Omaha, Nebraska                  |   468,262 | 47,096,899 |
| 43 | Long Beach, California           |   467,354 | 47,564,253 |
| 44 | Virginia Beach, Virginia         |   450,189 | 48,014,442 |
| 45 | Oakland, California              |   429,082 | 48,443,524 |
| 46 | Minneapolis, Minnesota           |   425,403 | 48,868,927 |
| 47 | Tulsa, Oklahoma                  |   400,669 | 49,269,596 |
| 48 | Arlington, Texas                 |   398,112 | 49,667,708 |
| 49 | Tampa, Florida                   |   392,890 | 50,060,598 |
| 50 | New Orleans, Louisiana           |   391,006 | 50,451,604 |
+----+----------------------------------+-----------+------------+

Data taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population.


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