“The virus can be deadly, but so far, it most often isn’t.”

February 27, 2020 at 7:33 pm (By Amba) ()

I’m reproducing this bit from The New York Times, unauthorized, because it puts the threat of the coronavirus in perspective. Granted that its effect on any individual is unpredictable (in Iran, an 81-year-old mullah and a 22-year-old woman soccer star have died), what you can probably expect if (or when) you get it is . . . not a whole lot.

The new coronavirus has sown fear and anxiety, with more than 81,000 cases and nearly 3,000 deaths.

But so far, it appears that the vast majority of those infected have only mild symptoms and make full recoveries. And those who get the virus develop powerful antibodies that should protect them from reinfection.

In China, people who have been infected are being asked to donate blood plasma, in the hope that their antibodies can be used to treat sick patients.

The largest study of the virus to date, published by China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, concluded that 81 percent of the 44,000 cases confirmed in China by mid-February were mild — defined by the study’s author’s as involving little or no pneumonia. 

Just under 14 percent were deemed severe, involving shortness of breath, low blood oxygen saturation or other lung problems. Just under 5 percent were critical, involving respiratory failure, septic shock or multiple organ dysfunction.

By Thursday, of the 78,487 confirmed cases in China, 32,495, or 41 percent, had been discharged from the hospital, according to China’s National Health Commission. About 8,300 patients were in serious condition. More than 2,700 people had died, giving an overall mortality rate of 2.3 percent, far higher than the seasonal flu’s rate of about 0.1 percent.

The number of mild cases creates its own complications.

Those with few or no symptoms may not know they have contracted the virus, or may misidentify it as a cold. They may then continue their daily lives, coming into close contact with others and spreading the virus without anyone knowing.

1 Comment

  1. Polly said,

    Probably a much bigger chance of getting seriously hurt or killed in a car accident. But Americans never hesitate to go out in their cars.

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