(TibetanReview.net, Feb04’20) – Both the number of confirmed and death cases from the novel coronavirus pneumonia in China have now crossed the 2002-03 SARS epidemic with no signs of slowing as the country reported 3,235 new confirmed cases and 64 deaths on Feb 3, taking their official totals to 20,438 and 425 respectively. The global death toll is now 427, with a fatality reported in Hong Kong on Feb 4, reported scmp.com Feb 4.
A total of 2,788 patients remained in severe condition and 23,214 people were suspected of being infected with the virus in China, reported the official Xinhua news agency Feb 4, citing China’s National Health Commission.
Also on Feb 3, total of 492 patients were reported to have become seriously ill, with 157 having been discharged from hospital after recovery, taking the total number of discharges to 632. A total of 171,329 others were stated to be still under medical observation.
Though the virus seems to be readily transmitted between humans, its apparent death rate of about 2 percent is lower than the 9.6 percent for SARS, and recoveries have risen, reported nytimes.com Feb 4.
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Dr Anthony Fauci of the US National Institutes of Health has told CNBC on Feb 3 that a quarter of China’s coronavirus cases “have very serious disease, requiring relatively intensive or really intensive care”.
Many of the world’s leading infectious disease experts have said the Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe, noted a nytimes.com report Feb 2.
“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 report noted.
“It’s very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic,” said Dr Fauci, an award winning immunodeficiencies scientists, was quoted as saying.
The report said that despite China’s official reports, various epidemiological models estimate that the real number of confirmed cases was 100,000 or even more.
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In a meeting with the country’s top officials Feb 3, Chinese President Xi Jinping called the virus outbreak a “major test of China’s system and capacity for governance,” as the extended Lunar New Year holiday and growing concerns began to take a toll on the country’s economy. Noted edition.cnn.com Feb 4.
The Chinese Communist Party has acknowledged “shortcomings” in the response to the coronavirus and has punished hundreds of local officials in a bid to defuse public anger toward the party for failing to nip the outbreak in the bud, reported asia.nikkei.com Feb 4. It said more than 400 local officials had been removed or otherwise penalized over poor handling of the outbreak as of Feb 3.
The report said Observers had criticized poor coordination between China’s increasingly powerful central leadership and local bodies. It added that as China had moved toward one-man rule since Xi took office in 2012, local governments had frequently been left unable to act without directives from the top.
Indeed, Mayor Zhou Xianwang of Wuhan, while acknowledging in a Jan 27 interview on state-run China Central Television that local authorities had “failed to disclose relevant information in a timely manner,” also made it clear, “As a local government, we can only disclose information after being authorized.”