Published: Tue, February 18, 2020
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Coronavirus study prompts optimism despite death toll rise

Coronavirus study prompts optimism despite death toll rise

Mainland China reported 1886 new virus cases and 98 more deaths for a total of 1868 in its update Tuesday, following a report that 80 per cent of cases have been mild, prompting guarded optimism from health officials.

There had been a further 1,807 cases detected in Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, taking the total in the province to 59,989.

The United States, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the lead, suspended entry into the United States of foreign nationals who were at risk of carrying the virus and evacuated USA nationals from Hubei Province and issued a "do not travel to China" advisory.

Taiwan reported its first death from the virus and an elderly Chinese tourist hospitalised in France became the first fatality in Europe.

By the end of Monday, a total of 1,868 people had died of the disease and 72,436 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in China.

World Health Organization also said that - with a mortality rate of around 2 percent - COVID-19 was "less deadly" than other coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a "public health emergency of worldwide concern". "It's too early to tell if this reported decline will continue, every scenario is still on the table", he said.

The 2,048 new cases announced on Monday came after three days of declines but was up by just 39 cases from the previous day's figure.

People in face masks shop for eggs at Shengfu Xiaoguan Market in Beijing. Ordinary influenza has a fatality rate of 0.1% yet kills hundreds of thousands because it infects millions each year.

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With few exceptions, only people who have traveled to China are at risk of getting COVID-19.

Chinese health officials have urged patients who recovered from the coronavirus to donate blood so that plasma can be extracted to treat others who are critically ill.

A worker wearing a protective face mask rides a three-wheeled vehicle on an nearly empty pedestrian shopping street named Qianmen, in Beijing, China.

Outside of hardest-hit Hubei, which has been effectively locked down to try to contain the virus, the number of new cases has been slowing and China's national health authority has said this is a sign the outbreak is under control.

Two patients in Hong Kong, five in Macao and two in Taiwan have been discharged from hospital after recovery.

Most of the 1,770 who have died in mainland China were in that region, but officials have confirmed multiple deaths elsewhere, including the capital Beijing.

Health officials said that 13 evacuees who were removed from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, now docked off the coast of Japan, were taken to a hospital in Nebraska.

Meanwhile, the US State Department said it evacuated more than 300 US citizens and their family members who had been on the Diamond Princess, and all were evaluated by medical officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and deemed asymptomatic and fit to fly.

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