Wuhan Coronavirus/2019-nCoV Update: February 3rd, 2020

Waiting room at a Wuhan hospital, January 24, 2020 (source: Agence France-Presse)

As of noon today, there were 17,491 confirmed cases of patients infected with the 2019-nCoV virus, of which 17,308 were in mainland China. Three hundred and sixty-two people have died, including the first death occurring outside China, in the Philippines.

In a CNBC news report, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said that approximately 25% of Chinese patients require intensive care:

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health told CNBC on Monday that a quarter of China’s coronavirus cases require intensive treatment.

“About 25% of them have very serious disease, requiring relatively intensive or really intensive care,” said the director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Cases of Wuhan Coronavirus Outside China (source: BBC)
2019-nCoV Global Cases (source)

Today, CNBC News interviewed Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former administrator of the U.S. FDA about how the United States should be responding to the 2019-nCoV outbreak:

Dr. Gottlieb wants the United States to broaden screening for the Wuhan coronavirus, which is currently only being done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Poland asserts “we’re basically at a pandemic now”, and agrees that we need better point-of-care diagnostics in hospitals.

Testing to officially confirm the presence of the 2019-nCoV virus is also a bottleneck in many other countries, especially China, where the true number of infected patients is probably much higher than the official counts. The New York Times paints a dire picture of the current situation in Wuhan:

As countries race to deal with an outbreak that has begun spreading around the world, inciting panic and disrupting the global economy, the residents of Wuhan are waging a daily battle to survive an illness that has sickened more than 4,100 people and killed 224 in their city alone.

Last month, the government put Wuhan in a virtual lockdown, sealing off the city and banning most public transportation and private cars from its streets in a desperate effort to contain the outbreak. Now, many residents say it is nearly impossible to get the health care they need to treat — or even diagnose — the coronavirus.

Expressing exasperation, doctors say there is a shortage of testing kits and other medical supplies, and it is not clear why more are not available. The ban on transportation means some residents have to walk for hours to get to hospitals — if they are well enough to make the journey. Layers of bureaucracy stand between residents and help. And the long lines outside hospitals for testing and treatment suggest that the outbreak is spreading far beyond the official count of cases.

Ambulances, too, are hard to come by, residents say. In recent days, some say they have called 120, China’s equivalent of the emergency number 911, only to be told that there were already hundreds of people in the queue.

Those who do make it to the hospital say they are squeezed together for hours in waiting rooms, where infections are easily spread. But the shortages have meant that many are ultimately turned away and sent home to self-quarantine, potentially compounding the outbreak by exposing their families.

Good Sources of Information on 2019-nCoV

Here is my list of good, credible, authoritative resources to learn more about the Wuhan coronoavirus (more formally known as 2019-nCoV):

If you want a quick, up-to-date overview of the current situation, here are three good places to check:

Sources of Fast-Breaking News on 2019-nCoV (WARNING: News You Read Here May Not Be 100% Credible!)

PLEASE READ: In addition to the sources listed in the previous section, there are other places you can check, which might have reports (including translated links to local social media in China) that have not yet made the mainstream news media. Please keep in mind that the situation in China is chaotic, and that some of the information you find in the sources I list below might be gossip, rumours, hoaxes, conspiracy theories, misinformation, or disinformation! 

Please review the information and videos I posted in my blogpost about How to Spot Fake News, BEFORE using any of these links.

Stay healthy!

Editorial: My To-Do List for February

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

I will be taking the entire month of February (four weeks) as vacation time from my paying job as a reference librarian at the University of Manitoba. And I’ve got a lot of things I plan to work on during that time off:

  • I have to work on my 45-minute presentation on Social VR and Libraries, which I will be giving at the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit, being held February 17th-22nd on various social VR platforms: AltspaceVR, ENGAGE, rumii, Mozilla Hubs, and Somnium Space. If you want to catch my presentation, it will be on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Pacific Time, from the virtual Bodleian Library in ENGAGE and livestreamed to the other platforms—so be sure to get up early and brew some extra-strong coffee to stay awake! 😉
  • I will be teaching myself how to use the Adobe Premiere Pro video-editing software, as I will be taking over from Andrew William as producer and video editor for my show, the Metaverse Newscast, which is currently on hiatus as I work my way up the learning curve.
  • I need to clean my apartment, which is a Red Cross disaster area!
  • I need to continue to prepare for a potential 2019-nCoV pandemic. (And I hope that you are preparing too! Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.)
  • My blogging will probably be taking a bit of a back seat to these first four tasks, but I will continue to write sponsored blogposts for Sinespace, and I will blog at least one update per day on the rapidly-evolving Wuhan coronavirus/2019-nCoV situation. Click here to read all my previous blogposts about 2019-nCoV. Yes, I am going to try and cover two completely separate topics on my blog!

Welcome to the new normal, where it would seem that everybody needs to learn how to juggle priorities and multitask in the face of competing demands on their time, and factor in unexpected emergencies!

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

(Yes, I’m also going to find some time to rest, relax, and recharge before I have to go back to work, too.)