Coronavirus: Wuhan may be home to 75,815 infected people, report says

On December 31st 2019, China alerted the World Health Organization to a small outbreak of pneumonia, and by the end of the very next day a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei Province, was shut down and quarantined. As many as 75,815 people in Wuhan may have been infected with the new coronavirus, according to a study by University of Hong Kong scientists.

Official January 31st numbers tell us that there were less than 10,000 people infected, and now as of February 1st, there are 12,000.

Meanwhile, the number of new confirmed cases and deaths from the coronavirus in mainland China have hit record daily levels.

For Hubei Province - including Wuhan, a city in central China of 11 million - the official figure was almost 6,000 confirmed cases and just over 200 deaths. Despite extreme containment efforts, the virus has now spread to 25 other countries, and for the first time in its history, the WHO has announced a global health emergency.

"The apparent discrepancy between our modeled estimates of 2019-nCoV infections and the actual number of confirmed cases in Wuhan could also be due to several other factors", Leung added in a journal news release. "These include that there is a time lag between infection and symptom onset, delays in infected persons coming to medical attention, and time taken to confirm cases by laboratory testing, which could all affect overall recording and reporting".

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In more chilling news, the study also said that large overseas cities which have close transport links to China could also become outbreak centres.

If the new estimate of cases is accurate, it would mean that the mortality rate of the 2019-nCoV virus is significantly lower than preliminary figures suggested, with well under one per cent of cases proving deadly.

The findings indicate that cases of 2019-nCoV infection may have spread from Wuhan to multiple other major Chinese cities as of January 25, including Guangzhou, with 111 cases; Beijing, with 113; Shanghai, with 98; and Shenzhen, with 80.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong, where previously created vaccine from calling fatal pneumonia 2019 coronavirus-nCoV, managed to capture unique footage of an infection. This makes the coronavirus comparable to the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak of 2002 to 2003, which was estimated to have a reproductive number of 3.

The respective mortality rates for SARS and MERS patients was 9.5 and 34.5 per cent, far higher than for the new coronavirus.

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