China's new #2019nCoV numbers are out. Case count now stands at nearly 6,000 in China (they include Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan in their count) & 132 deaths.
Jumped 1459 cases & 26 deaths overnite.
There are about 64 in more than a dozen other countries. No deaths outside of China. pic.twitter.com/TQFSf7SaWc
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) January 29, 2020
— CNN International (@cnni) January 29, 2020
Goddamn, I love this woman. Details specific measures while reaffirming her commitment to M4A and emphasizing the links between climate change and the spread of infectious diseases. https://t.co/nakbIvIylg
— Matthew Monagle (@LabSplice) January 28, 2020
C’mon, you *know* I was gonna boost this! Per Deepa Shivaram at NBC:
As focus on the coronavirus intensifies, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is releasing a new plan on how to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases and better prepare for global outbreaks.
Her in-depth agenda focuses on fully funding global health agencies, investing in the development of vaccines and ensuring that health departments and hospitals are prepared to handle potential outbreaks.
“The best way to beat a pandemic is to prevent it from starting in the first place,” Warren’s plan says, “As president, I will work to build the foundations that help us catch infectious diseases before they spread.”
Though Warren does not specify where the funding would come from, a large portion of her plan revolves around funding organizations that would strengthen global health infrastructure. She specifically mentions fully funding the Centers for Disease Control, USAID and the Global Health Security Agenda, which involves 50 countries…
Of note, Warren makes a point to mention the importance of spreading factual information and countering misinformation in the process of combating global outbreaks. She says she will work with the private sector on this issue.
“Science will once again be in charge at the CDC,” the plan says.
The focus on science also ties into Warren’s portion of the plan that tackles the crossover between climate change and disease outbreak. Her plan folds in portions of her previously released plans on climate and adds in a focus on preventing spread of disease after natural disasters…
2. @WHO says it currently appears that about 20% people who contract #2019nCoV experience "severe" illness.
No word, though, on what efforts have been made to find mild cases that don't present for care in order to try to understand how much of the iceberg we're seeing. pic.twitter.com/D3WoYnx7ML
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) January 28, 2020
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 29, 2020
There's a lot of scared discourse around the new coronavirus, and specifically around a concept called R0. I wrote this piece about what that number is, what it means, and–crucially–what it does NOT mean.
— Ed Yong (@edyong209) January 28, 2020
When a new disease emerges, health organizations turn to a seemingly simple number to gauge whether the outbreak will spread. It’s called the basic reproduction number—R0, pronounced R-nought—and though useful for decision makers, it’s a nightmare for public communication. In brief, R0 is the average number of people who will catch the disease from a single infected person, in a population that’s never seen the disease before. If R0 is 3, then on average every case will create three new cases. But even though it seems incredibly straightforward, it’s hard to calculate and tricky to interpret.
R0 is important because if it’s greater than 1, the infection will probably keep spreading, and if it’s less than 1, the outbreak will likely peter out. So it offers vital information to organizations and nations as they consider how to respond to an outbreak—such as the one the world is currently experiencing…
First, the R0 estimates for the new coronavirus are in line with those for many other diseases. They’re similar to those for SARS (2 to 5) and HIV (also 2 to 5), and considerably lower than those for measles (12 to 16).
Second, a bigger R0 doesn’t necessarily mean a worse disease. Seasonal flu has an R0 that hovers around 1.3, and yet it infects millions of people every year. SARS had an R0 of 2 to 5 and infected just over 8,000 people. The number is a measure of potential transmissibility. It does not actually tell you how fast a disease will spread.
“People make the mistake of thinking that a high R0 means that you’re inevitably going to end up with a pandemic, and that’s not what it means at all,” says Maia Majumder from Harvard Medical School, who published one of the seven estimates for the new virus. In her view, if the number is higher than 1, we should take the disease seriously. But exactly how high it is beyond that threshold isn’t very informative at this stage.
Why? Because third, R0 is an average. Let’s say the virus has an R0 of 2. This could mean that every single infected person passes the virus to two other people. It could also mean that one infected person is a “super-spreader” who infects 100 people, while 49 infected people infect no one. These two scenarios have radically different implications for what will happen during an outbreak.
Fourth, R0 is not easy to calculate. That’s especially true in the early days of an epidemic, when it’s not even clear how many cases there have been. Some people might have been infected without showing symptoms. Others might not have reported their symptoms to health authorities. Absent clear data on who has the disease, let alone how they’re moving around and interacting with other people, scientists have to calculate R0 by doing complicated simulations using a variety of possible methods. That’s why early estimates can vary so wildly, and why they should be taken with a grain of salt…
4. @WHO is putting together a portal into which it hopes countries will dump anonymized patient data so a clearer picture of the disease caused by #2019nCoV can come into focus. pic.twitter.com/QvNDzP58RW
— Helen Branswell (@HelenBranswell) January 28, 2020
Interesting details, *if true*:
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) January 29, 2020
— Julia Belluz (@juliaoftoronto) January 28, 2020
Investors seem seriously spooked by the spreading Wuhan coronavirus epidemic. @jbarro explains why the reaction is so strong in financial markets that are distant from the center of the epidemic https://t.co/TrwuXoBJDo
— Intelligencer (@intelligencer) January 27, 2020