Coronavirus Live Updates: China Death Toll Exceeds That of SARS Outbreak
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Construction on the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China, on Sunday. The hospital was built in just 10 days as part of China’s efforts against the new coronavirus.Credit…Getty Images
The death toll in China exceeds that of the SARS outbreak.
The death toll from the coronavirus has now exceeded that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2002 and 2003 in mainland China. But nationwide, the number of people who have recovered has risen in recent days, suggesting that the fatality rate of the virus is relatively low.
China’s Health Commission reported on Sunday that there were 475 recoveries and 361 deaths nationwide. During the SARS outbreak, 349 people died in mainland China.
Health experts say they were encouraged by the steady rise in the number of recoveries and took it as evidence that the treatments meted out have been effective and showed that the virus does not appear to be as deadly as SARS.
SARS had a mortality rate of 9.6 percent, and about 2 percent of those reported to have been infected with the new coronavirus have died.
China first announced an outbreak of a mysterious pneumonia in the city of Wuhan on Dec. 31. It has been 12 days since the authorities began to place the city and much of the surrounding province of Hubei under lockdown on Jan. 23.
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In the province of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, 80 patients had recovered on Sunday, compared with 56 deaths. On Saturday, 49 patients had left the hospitals, while 45 people had died.
But the number of infections from the new coronavirus is still climbing and has far exceeded that of SARS, suggesting that it could take a while before China declares an end to the outbreak. China had 17,205 confirmed infections as of Sunday. During the SARS outbreak, China had 5,327 cases, according to the World Health Organization.
Stocks drop sharply after market opens in China.
Stocks in China plunged in early Monday trading as investors returned from a long holiday to the prospect of the world’s No. 2 economy virtually shut down by the coronavirus epidemic.
Stocks in Shanghai opened 8.7 percent lower, while shares in the southern Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen fell 9 percent. The markets had been closed since Jan. 23 for the Lunar New Year holiday, and government officials extended that closure until Monday while the authorities dealt with the outbreak.
Other markets in the region, which have already digested much of the impact, opened lower as well. Shares in Tokyo and Australia were down about 1.5 percent in early Monday trading. Stocks in Hong Kong opened about half a percent lower.
The damage could be confined to Asia. Futures markets that predict the performance of stocks in the next day forecast a positive opening for Wall Street and a mixed day for shares in Europe.
Separately, China’s central bank moved to pump $173 billion into its financial system on Monday in an emergency move to help government efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
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The virus has sickened more than 17,300 people in China and 23 other countries.
A hospital built in days is opening, but some of the ill have been turned away.
From Amy Qin, a China correspondent, and Elsie Chen, a researcher, on the ground in Wuhan:
People desperate for treatment started descending on a new hospital in Wuhan on Monday that was built in just 10 days after the outbreak of the new coronavirus. But with workers still trying to finish construction on it for Monday’s opening, many were turned away.
Multiple road checkpoints had been set up to screen cars heading to the hospital. A sign at one checkpoint said: “Huoshenshan Hospital does not have an outpatient facility. Only diagnosed patients transferred from other hospitals can be admitted.” Officers at the checkpoint were telling the sickly arrivals and their relatives to instead call 120, China’s emergency number.
One man named Xue Ying was driving toward the hospital with his cousin, who had recently been tested for the coronavirus but had not yet received the results.
Mr. Xue believes his mother died from the coronavirus, but they could not secure a bed in a hospital and she was never tested for it. His aunt and uncle were also in a hospital. He said he was desperate to find help for his cousin.
“I can’t afford to lose anyone else,” he said, sitting dejectedly in the car with his sick cousin.
About 1,400 military medics will begin working at the new hospital, which covers roughly 365,000 square feet and has been fitted with 1,000 beds. A second facility in Wuhan, with 1,500 beds, is expected to be completed this week.
New York City reports two more suspected cases.
A day after New York City’s health authorities said that a woman hospitalized at Bellevue Hospital Center might have the new coronavirus, the authorities on Sunday announced that two more patients might also have the virus.
Samples from all three patients must first be tested at a laboratory in Atlanta that is run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether any of the patients do in fact have the new coronavirus.
The turnaround time for receiving the results is usually at least 36 hours, but often longer. Local health departments are not yet able to test for the new illness themselves.
But based on a number of factors — the type of symptoms. the patients’ recent travel in China and the exclusion of influenza and some other common illnesses through testing — the New York City health authorities are taking quite seriously the possibility that these patients may have the virus.
Three more cases were confirmed in California on Sunday, bringing the total in the United States to 11.
Alarm over the growing threat to Southeast Asia.
While the world’s attention is focused on China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, medical experts worry about looming problems in Southeast Asia, which now has the largest cluster of patients with the new coronavirus outside China.
The Times’s Southeast Asia bureau chief, Hannah Beech, reports that some governments there have either played down the threat of the epidemic or openly expressed worry about offending China, a superpower whose economic heft can propel their economies.
On Sunday, the first overseas death from the virus, a 44-year-old Wuhan resident who had died a day earlier, was reported in the Philippines. The virus has spread to about two dozen countries.
Medical experts worry that a delayed response to the coronavirus in Southeast Asia could hasten the spread of the disease.
“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s director general.
In Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen told a packed news conference last week that he would kick out anyone who was wearing a surgical mask because such measures were creating an unwarranted climate of fear. And in Indonesia, Terawan Agus Putranto, the health minister, advised citizens to relax and eschew overtime work to avoid the disease, saying, “to prevent it is very easy as long as your immunity is good.”
Reporting was contributed by Sui-Lee Wee, Alexandra Stevenson, Carlos Tejada, Cao Li, Gerry Mullany, Hannah Beech and Joseph Goldstein.
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