Yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak from Wuhan, China, to be a global health emergency.(1) Since then the number of world cases have exploded with over 9,800 infections and over 200 confirmed deaths so far in China.(2) Cases have been reported in 21 other countries, including Canada.(3)(4)
As peak flu season starts there has been more than 15,500 cases confirmed compared to about 9,000 this time last year; almost double that of 2019!(5) With symptoms being the same as that for Coronavirus the two infections are indistinguishable until viral pneumonia sets in. In the province of Ontario the Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe has just stated that as of Thursday January 30th, 67 people have been tested in Ontario with 38 coming back negative and the 27 still unconfirmed but are currently under observation either in isolation at home or in a hospital.(6)
Last year alone the CDC established that there were 1 billion people infected with the flu worldwide.(7) Recent data shows the infection rate of Coronavirus to be roughly 3 times that of the flu (horizontal axis).(8)(9) If this holds true we are expecting 3 billion people to be infected by this deadly virus. But unlike the flu which has a mortality rate of 0.1%, the Coronavirus has a mortality rate of 8% (vertical axis). This means that as many as 240 million people will succumb to this illness; a value 4 times that previously projected!(10)
In just one month the total number of Coronavirus cases have now surpassed the total number of those infected with SARS during November 2002-July 2003. Here are some facts:(11)
- Mortality: There are those that say Coronavirus is more deadly that either SARS or MERS, the research varies. The data coming out of China places the mortality rate at 8%. However, current research published in the LANCET places mortality rate at 11 percent. This data however did not account for the survival rates of those still hospitalized which means the mortality rate could be much higher than this. SARS has a mortality rate of 10 percent. (12)
- Rate of Transmission: Coronavirus is far more infectious than either SARS or MERS; data shows the transmission rate is 3 times that of SARS or MERS.(8)(11) But again there are some that say the rate of transmission is a lot higher with reports showing that each person can infect 2-3 people.(13) Reports from frontline workers in China coming shared on social media indicate that each person can infect up to 14 people!
- Age: According to the World Health Organization, 50% of people impacted by SARS were age 65 or older; the other half varied widely in age.(11) According to the recent LANCET article the Coronavirus is infecting a younger demographics with the average age of infection at 55.5 years of age.(12) Children, elderly people, pregnant women, and those who are immuno-compromised are more susceptible to severe complications due to Coronavirus infection.(11)
The Coronavirus is far more infectious than SARS. In just 30 days it has infected as many people as those infected with SARS in 2003. The mortality rates are far higher than that of SARS. And this Coronavirus is far more deadly than the flu with a predicted mortality rate higher than 11 percent compared to the flu at 0.1 percent. Early predictions shows 240 million people will die worldwide. No, this is definitely NOT just the flu!