Experts worry about undue panic, as most patients make full recoveries.
*We will update this post as further information comes out.
The death toll currently stands at 213, with 22 nations or administrative regions reporting patients infected with the potentially deadly virus. So far, all the deaths have occurred in China, with the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions hardest hit.
Most of the patients with coronavirus have already made full recoveries. According to Chinese officials, the virus hits the elderly or who have other ailments that compromise their immune systems the hardest.
The Wuhan Coronavirus virus does not seem to be as deadly as the virus causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed 774 people from 2002 to 2003. However, between social media and click-bait news reports, public health officials are now becoming concerned about the spread of panic related to the new virus.
Experts say that for the most part, global panic over the Wuhan coronavirus is unproductive and unwarranted: The public should take precautions to avoid getting sick, but the most effective preventative measures are everyday actions like increased handwashing and not touching your face.
An expert also said fear would not stop the spread of the virus and could cause negative social impacts.
“There’s the spread of infectious disease, then there’s the spread of panic,” Amira Roess, a professor of global health and epidemiology at George Mason University, told Business Insider. “They have very different mechanisms.”
The spread of the virus is starting to have an economic impact, as firms are closing locations and reducing services to avoid creating environments promoting further infections.
Apple, McDonalds and Starbucks are among the major U.S. companies that have closed locations or reduced service in China amid the spread of the novel coronavirus that’s killed at least 170 people and infected more than 7,700.
The outbreak is causing economic “uncertainties,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said, posing a potentially significant threat to the world economy.
“There is likely to be some disruption to activity in China and globally,” Powell said Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. “We are very carefully monitoring the situation.”
The virus has hit the travel industry hard. For example, over 6,000 people are quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Italy because one woman is suspected of having the Wuhan Coronavirus.
About 5,023 passengers and 1,628 crew aboard Costa Cruises’ Costa Smeralda ship were being held in an Italian port after a passenger from Macau, China, came down with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday night amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
A Costa Cruises spokesperson confirmed to Fox News on Thursday that sanitary protocol has been activated after a 54-year-old woman fell ill aboard the Smeralda ship, which had sailed from Mallorca, Spain, to Civitavecchia on a weeklong Mediterranean cruise.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy to Denmark wants the newspaper Jyllands-Posten to apologize for publishing a drawing that depicts China’s flag with virus symbols instead of five stars.
“We express our strong indignation and demand that Jyllands-Posten and [cartoonist] Niels Bo Bojesen reproach themselves for their mistake and publicly apologize to the Chinese people,” the embassy said in a statement posted on its website.
When asked to comment, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen avoided any direct reference to Jyllands-Posten’s cartoon.
“I have nothing to say on the matter other than [to note that] we have a very strong tradition in Denmark not just for freedom of speech but also for freedom of satire, and we’ll continue to have that in the future,” she said, according to multiple news media including Politiken.
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