Less than two weeks ago LynnDee Summers and I released this podcast that discussed an obscure story about the mystery illness in China. Since that time the “mystery illness” has become known globally as the Wuhan Virus. As of this morning, more than 800 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in China alone. Experts report the virus is now being spread person to person but they still do not know enough about the illness to stop it. Major cities in China have been quarantined. The US State Department has issued a Level 4 travel warning. At least 7 countries now have confirmed cases of the Wuhan Virus.
In this podcast episode, I am joined again by LynnDee Summers and also Dr. Jason Lofton. We discuss what is going on with the Wuhan Virus and why everything changed in the last ten days. We also discuss how to maintain a reasonable approach to this growing crisis.
Basic Facts of Wuhan Virus
It was believed to originate from the seafood market in Wuhan. But in the last 10 days, people who never went to the market were found infected by the virus. Based on this, authorities now believe the Wuhan virus can spread from person to person. The virus is officially known as 2019-nCov. It is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus that was not previously been identified in humans. People may have the virus and not yet know it.
The normal incubation period for flu is two or three days. But for a coronavirus, it could be five to six days, a week, or even longer. This accounts for why the spread of the virus multiplied so rapidly in the last 10 days. Fever is the main manifestation of the virus. Dry cough, shortness of breath, and diarrhea are the other main symptoms. Some patients get a runny nose.
Timeline of the Wuhan Virus
- December 31 – Chinese authorities first reported the emergence of a new respiratory illness with pneumonia-like symptoms in the city of Wuhan.
- January 20 – It is confirmed the virus can pass from person to person. Thailand confirmed four cases of Wuhan virus.
- January 21 – 291 cases reported across China. The spread of the Wuhan virus was confirmed in other major Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported at least 15 health workers in Wuhan were infected. At least one of these health workers was in critical condition. The first case of Wuhan virus was reported in the US. Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and Taiwan also now have confirmed cases.
- January 22 – The first case of Wuhan virus was reported in Hong Kong. The World Health Organization determined a Global Public Health Emergency will not be declared as more information is needed. They will meet again in the coming days as more information becomes available.
- January 23 – There are now 570 confirmed cases and 17 deaths. China shut down public transportation in Wuhan and urged citizens not to travel. Ferry, bus, and flights out of Wuhan stopped. State news agency Xinhua said tourist attractions and hotels in the city were told to suspend large-scale activities while libraries, museums and theatres were canceling exhibitions and performances. Wuhan is the 42nd largest city in the world but locals say the streets of this city normally teeming with people are now bare. Additional Chinese cities went into lockdown mode and began significantly reducing public transportation and public gatherings. These included: Huanggang and Ezhou. There are now 38 cases of Wuhan virus in Hong Kong. Texas A&M released a statement that one of its students may be infected.
- January 24 – Chinese authorities reported there are now 830 confirmed cases of Wuhan virus within China. The first deaths outside of Hubbei province in China occurred. The authorities drastically expanded the travel lockdown in central China, essentially penning in more than 22 million residents to contain a deadly virus that is overwhelming hospitals and fueling fears of a pandemic. There are now 26 deaths attributed to the virus. The US State Department issued warnings not to enter the Hubei province in China. The American Embassy in Beijing advised travelers from the United States to avoid Hubei Province, where Wuhan is the capital. It said the State Department already ordered nonemergency government personnel to leave the city. The US State Department further warned that the Chinese government might prevent travelers from arriving or leaving. The notice from the State Department was a Level 4 advisory, the sternest warning the United States government issues regarding travel. Other Level 4 warnings issued by the State Department cover travel to Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela
- What is Life Like in Quarantined Wuhan (BBC)
- See How Coronavirus is Upending Daily Life in China (Washington Post)
- Mapping the Spread of the New Coronavirus (Washington Post)
- Fact Sheet About Coronavirus