I had planned to have an early night and not make another post about the Coronavirus outbreak, but I must admit I am getting worried.
The media of course is picking up the headwind and beginning to go into overdrive with ever more attention grabbing headlines.
So I spent the afternoon seeking out some more direct and authoratative sources of information to check the situation for myself. The data I found is beginning to look a little scary.
The numbers of infected and dead so far are still quite small – ‘officially’ 2,019 confirmed cases and 56 deaths. But it is the rate of growth in the numbers that makes me worried.
The confirmed cases number is up from 1,438 yesterday – an increase of 40%, and the deaths up 33% from 42. If these sorts of numbers are sustained that means the outbreak is doubling in infection and death every 2 – 3 days.
And there are now numerous first hand accounts coming out of China suggesting the official figures are being significantly or even dramatically under-reported.
There are videos of doctors collapsing on the floor, nurses screaming in panic, and hospitals generally being overrun.
People in China are taking great risks to get the information out. This video particularly hits home hard…
Some might call into question the authenticity of such social media sourced information, but personally I am largely believing it.
There is now too much circumstantial evidence coming from the official sources to make one believe that the more extreme social media reporting is not without substance.
The Chinese Government is locking down an increasing number of major cities across the country, including now Beijing, and well as closing many major visitor attractions and halting tourism trips.
If this shut down continues it will begin to have a significant impact on the Chinese economy. The Government would not therefore takes these steps lightly.
This economic impact will begin to spread around the world. The supply of the products and parts produced in China could start to dry up quite quickly.
In Wuhan, at the centre of the outbreak, the authorities are super fast-tracking the building of two new hospitals to provide more capacity to deal with the rapidly growing number of infected people.
They have also announced that 24 general hospitals will be transformed to help look after the infected patients.
These steps do seem quite dramatic for the supposed number of infections reported so far.
The Twitter feed of China’s largest newspaper, People’s Daily @PDChina is a good source for official information.
Looking at the continually updated map from John Hopkins University will give a good overview of the global spread…
So far infections outside of China are quite small in number. But they are growing.
The first case in Canada, in Toronto, has just been reported. Other countries I am sure will be added to list over the next few days.
If you want to make your heart skip a beat or two, take a look at the graph presented in the bottom left corner of the John Hopkins University map page. Of course axes can be drawn to different scales but that orange line sure does look like it is heading into the world of exponentialism…
It is late at night, and at 3am one’s sense of the dramatic can become heightened.
Taken that into account I think I can hold back from panic, but I have certainly moved into worry mode.
I will round this off with a little dose of irony.
Last night I managed to order another couple of boxes of anti-viral and N95 masks still at a reasonable price.
I got the dispatch and delivery notification this morning. They won’t arrive for another two or three weeks.
They are being shipped from China…
[ image from pixabay.com ]