Why Wuhan Coronavirus Could Be Deadlier Pandemic Than SARS

Why Wuhan Coronavirus Could Be Deadlier Pandemic Than SARS


It’s a mildly chilly, but still pleasant November
2002 morning in China’s Guangdong province. A local farmer tends to his crops when he
crosses paths with one of China’s most adorable animals, the masked palm civet. A weasel-like animal, the masked palm civet
is unique to southeast Asia, and ubiquitous throughout the land- much like the common
raccoon in North America. Unknown to this farmer though, his close encounter
with this particular civet has become a deadly one. As the farmer breathes in the fresh fall air,
a few stray particles work its way into his lungs. Hiding amongst those airborne particles are
a few viruses, and while these viruses have infected civets for millenia, today all that
is about to change. With perhaps the world’s worst case of being
at the wrong place at the wrong time, this Chinese farmer has just breathed in the only
known mutation of what will become the SARS virus that allows it to infect human beings. From this one stray breath, the world will
be rocked by a modern pandemic that will kill hundreds. The farmer will be dead in a matter of days,
his corpse laid up in the same hospital bed he had checked himself into after having extreme
difficulties breathing. The virus within him however remained very
much alive, even as doctors inspected his corpse for a cause of death and remained unable
to identify one other than mysterious acute respiratory illness. The virus would spread from person to person-
some it had little to no effect on, and was written off as a mild flu or cold, others
it would prove fatal. The Chinese government very quickly realized
that something was extremely wrong in the small province outside of Hong Kong. Sending in government investigators, they
quickly realized that they were dealing with a new, and very contagious disease- yet in
a bid to prevent a panic, they refused to alert the World Health Organization and used
their control over the state-run media to block out any information to the public. The death toll however continued to rise,
and slowly Canada’s Global Public Health Intelligence Network, a global monitoring system that scours
media for possible pandemic outbreaks in order to stop them in their tracks, gathers evidence
that something very wrong is happening on the other side of the Chinese media blackout. The evidence is slow to be gathered though
due to Chinese censorship, and finally on December 5th, the Canadians have given enough
evidence to the World Health Organization that it submits a formal request for information
to the Chinese government. At first the Chinese Communist Party sits
silent, until a second request six days later is filed. Canada’s Global Public Health Intelligence
Network is meant to stop outbreak of diseases before they become pandemics, and so far it
has been very successful, yet there’s little it could have done to stop what came next
thanks to Chinese censorship. At the end of January, a fish seller suffering
from acute respiratory problems checked himself in to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital in
Guangzhou. Before dying, he becomes SARS’s first super-spreader,
infecting an approximate 30 doctors and nurses with the strange new disease. One of those infected would be a doctor named
Liu Jianlun, who would go on to spread the disease to Hong Kong. And once the disease reached Hong Kong, the
worst consequence that the Chinese government had fought so hard to prevent would come to
pass: the mystery disease would go global. Doctor Jianlun would travel to Hong Kong to
attend a family gathering. As one of the world’s most populated cities,
Hong Kong offered no shortage of new hosts for the deadly disease, and as Jianlun fell
ill, he had already done his job as a super-spreader. As Jianlun lay dying in a Hong Kong hospital,
the disease was already on its way to Vietnam, Canada, Taiwan, and beyond. Before being contained by the end of summer
2003, SARS would infect 8273 people around the world, killing 775 of them. This gave the disease a mortality rate of
9.6 percent, making it one of the deadliest modern epidemics. These numbers may not seem impressive, but
that’s only because of the massive global response to the epidemic, and the incredible
efforts of physicians around the world to discover the disease and quarantine it. In a way, SARS was a test of humanity’s ability
to respond to a global pandemic, and had the disease been more virulent, it’s likely we
would have failed that test thanks to the Chinese government’s censorship. The new coronavirus outbreak bears many similarities
to SARS, and in fact the two diseases are in essence the same, as they both come from
the same family of coronaviruses. Yet while mortality rates are still unknown
due to a lack of sample size and us still being in the opening days of a new pandemic,
it is clear that the disease is deadly. Initially only the elderly and young were
thought to be at risk, until in mid-January a perfectly healthy Chinese teenager died
from the disease. In just the last few days alone as we write
this script, the death toll has skyrocketed from 50 to 81, after initially casualties
being limited to just a few a day. This means that the virus is infecting more
people faster, and is spreading around the world at an exponential rate. If the death toll continues to climb at such
an incredible rate, the new Wuhan virus will be an order of magnitude more lethal than
SARS ever was. Humanity may be facing the first serious risk
to global health since the Spanish Flu outbreak that killed millions after the end of World
War I. While SARS took months to spread from rural
China to the rest of the world, the Wuhan virus was first identified in the major city
of Wuhan, and from there in less than a month since the outbreak began, there are already
40 cases confirmed in a dozen other countries, with five now here in the United States. We’re more than sure that as the virus continues
to spread, by the time this script is live and you’re watching this, all of those figures
will have grown exponentially. While the Wuhan virus attacks the body in
much the same way as SARS, it’s the ease of infection that is proving to make it far deadlier
than SARS ever was. China is far more interconnected with the
rest of the world than it was in 2002, with more international airports and flights across
the country. China’s rapid modernization has also greatly
increased the number of international visitors to the interior parts of the country, as opposed
to just the major port cities as was the case back in 2002. Basically, China is far more connected to
the world than it ever was, and while it was quick to alert the World Health Organization
this time over its latest outbreak, there was little that could be done before the disease
was already on its way to the rest of the world. To contain the outbreak, China has increased
the number of quarantined cities from 13, to 17, a move that affects over 50 million
Chinese citizens. The government has mobilized both the civilian
medical community and its military in a massive undertaking to fight the spread of the virus,
and two brand new hospitals are being built at a rapid pace in two of the worst affected
zones, set to be completed in a matter of weeks. In the US, cases have been confirmed in California,
Arizona, Illinois, Washington state, and Texas. Dozens of cities across the nation are now
screening patients who are showing symptoms that are consistent with those of the Wuhan
virus. As of this writing, two new patients in Virginia
are believed to be infected. Europe has not been spared the virus, and
recently two cases were confirmed in France. Just hours after the initial report, a third
case was confirmed. Though the list continues to grow daily, confirmed
Wuhan virus cases have come from Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan,
Nepal, Malaysia, France, the US, and Australia. What makes the Wuhan virus especially dangerous
is the fact that it is contagious even during its incubation period, unlike the SARS virus. This means that the virus can still infect
people even before the carrier is showing any symptoms, something that makes identifying
and quarantining the virus early on almost impossible. As it takes up to two weeks for an infected
carrier to start feeling sick, that person could be spreading the disease around them
for fourteen days before realizing that they’ve been infected. This was impossible with SARS, which was not
contagious during its incubation period, and makes the Wuhan virus a far greater threat
than SARS ever was. As the world moves to contain the disease,
the American CDC has been working on a field test that can diagnose the virus early on,
and it hopes to be able to export the equipment soon to the rest of the world. What is clear is that we’re all in this together,
and petty national differences have thankfully been set aside as the world gears up to stop
the death toll from the Wuhan virus from climbing any higher.

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100 thoughts on “Why Wuhan Coronavirus Could Be Deadlier Pandemic Than SARS

  1. The Chinese on the bus go cough cough cough cough cough cough thee Chinese on the bus go cough cough cough all day long

  2. As of February 10, 2020 Coronavirus is now OFFICIALLY more deadly than SARS and has claimed more lives in 1/4 of the time. Do not panic but do pay attention

  3. I'm pretty sure they ate the civets not breath for humans to catch sars … just like they did now with some strange animal where not supposed to eat

  4. Your words on how we are all in this together are correct.
    But I don't think China has realized that, they keep on lying about the statistics, didn't want to share the "sample" virus they have, only the genetics.
    CCP really mess up this time, if those 1 billion people don't rise above this tragedy, they will keep being oppressed. One billion people, yet such coward.

  5. I already have a Tyvek suit and military gas mask. If my information is correct, marijuana is the cure. I have done research on it.

  6. Chinese smuggled it to the UNITED STATES. They had a lab over here but they all died from infection from the coronavirus.

  7. This virus is preocupating but at this time nothing in term of mortality compared to regular flu
    Last year estimation of WHO for the flu is between 290.000 and 650.000 dead person.

  8. The virus is not believed able to be spread the whole incubation of 2 weeks, it's more likely scientist says that it's able to spread in the later state of the incubation time-line. Also there's only hypothesis FROM which animal SARS virus originated from.

    Very bad research from this film-clip

    We should defenetly take Corona seriously, but please don't spread false information. Or declare your hypothesis, don't make a statement as it would be the truth, when you do not have the data to back it up.

  9. The coronavirus is not a deadly disease. It's basically pneumonia and fevers. If you catch it, you won't die unless you are a young child, elder, or have a pre-existing condition.

  10. These kind of viruses are mankind's worst enemy, I wish we invest more resources in fighting them, than pointing missiles at each other and wasting billions on arms race.

  11. CDC is tracking over 400 cases in the US. They are all carriers that have not yet shown symptoms, though they are likely infecting others and it’s unlikely anything can be done at this point. You can trust me, I’m some guy on YouTube

  12. I've seen many articles that the NCOV is not really that fatal than the sars. And now I'm confuse cause the first coronavirus patient in the philippines already recovered and got discharged already. The fatality rate of NCOV is only 2% while the Sars is 9.6% now tell me? What is more fatal?

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