This is an outbreak of disease that started in Wuhan, one of the central Chinese cities it’s caused by a novel the coronavirus that means it’s brand-new.
What are the symptoms?
It’s from a family called the coronaviruses. It seems quite mild in lots of people, and probably those people don’t end up in a hospital at all. We only know about the more severe cases, which are where people have gone on to develop viral pneumonia, and those people end up in a hospital, and all the deaths have been amongst those people.
Where have cases been confirmed so far?
This brand new coronavirus came from animals, and it’s believed that the source was a seafood market in Wuhan, which also sells wild animals so far as we know all the cases have come out of Wuhan. So some of these people are in places like Thailand and Japan, but they haven’t picked it up there they got it in Wuhan, and then they traveled.
In China, where most cases are, it’s older people who are ending up in a hospital with this. They’re usually over 40, and the very youngest a person diagnosed is about 13 or 14 years old, so it doesn’t appear to be affecting small children, and those who have died tend actually to have underlying conditions as they say they’re frail they may have heart disease or cancer already, and so they’re vulnerable their immune systems are not very robust, and they’re going to find it very hard to fight off a virus.
We’ve only just discovered that the new coronavirus is transmitted from one person to another it was hoped at first actually that it just came from animals as all coronaviruses do but now it looks as though it is passed from one human being to another so we’ve got people-to-people transmission because the markets been closed for some time and there are cases in people who’ve never been near it so there isn’t any treatment at the a moment at all because this is a virus antibiotics won’t work that they only work against bacteria, not viruses so you want to know antiviral treatment but none of the flu drugs that we’ve got we have got a couple of those will work on this a coronavirus is different from a flu virus so there isn’t any treatment at the a moment at all this one is scary because it is a brand new virus so we don’t know how it’s going to behave but I have to say we perhaps ought to put it in the context of some of the other things the West Africa outbreak of Ebola and that was killing more than half of all those people who were infected SARS which was a novel coronavirus just like this one back in 2002 did end up causing a global panic and that was large because nobody had ever seen it before but also the death rate was at around 10% well here so far we’re talking about a death rate of 2% which is a lot less and it does look as if many of those people have had underlying health problems which would make it more likely that they would die they could equally have died of flu so you have to put it into that context, I think.
Coronaviruses are circulating in animals, and some of these coronaviruses have the capability of transmitting between animals and humans, we call that a spillover event.
Is there a treatment?
No, specific treatments for coronaviruses, but symptoms can be treated.
A woman in her 70s has become the first person with coronavirus to die in the UK. The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Redding said she had underlying health issues, but she had not been abroad. The number of people infected in the UK has jumped again to 116 among them some children, almost half of those who have the virus don’t need hospital treatment. The UK’s chief medical adviser Professor Chris Witte says authorities across the country and now mainly trying to delay rather than contain the spread of the virus globally there are now more than 97 thousand cases of coronavirus of those more than half over 53,000 have recovered the number of people who have died far stands at almost three and a half thousand.