Coronavirus Live Updates: Disease Roughly 20 Times Deadlier Than Seasonal Flu

Coronavirus Live Updates: Disease Roughly 20 Times Deadlier Than Seasonal Flu


An analysis of 44,672 coronavirus patients in China whose diagnoses were confirmed by laboratory testing has found that 1,023 had died by Feb. 11. That’s a fatality rate of 2.3 percent. Figures released on a daily basis suggest the rate has further increased in recent days.

That is far higher than the mortality rate of the seasonal flu, with which the new coronavirus has sometimes been compared.

In the United States, flu fatality rates hover around 0.1 percent.

The new analysis was posted online by researchers at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over all, about 81 percent of patients with confirmed diagnoses experienced mild illness, the researchers found. Nearly 14 percent had severe cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and about 5 percent had critical illness.

Thirty percent of those who died were in their 60s, 30 percent were in their 70s and 20 percent were age 80 or older. Though men and women were roughly equally represented among the confirmed cases, men made up nearly 64 percent of the deaths. Patients with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, died at higher rates.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

The fatality rate among patients in Hubei Province, the center of China’s outbreak, was more than seven times higher than that of other provinces.

China on Tuesday announced new figures for the outbreak. The number of cases was put at 72,436 — up from 70,548 the day before — and the death toll now stands at 1,868, up from 1,770, the authorities said.

A day before 328 Americans were to be whisked away from a contaminated cruise ship in Japan, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo told passengers that no one infected with the new coronavirus would be allowed to board charter flights to the United States.

But those plans were hastily changed after the test results for 14 passengers came back positive — just as they were being loaded onto buses and dispatched to the airport, where two reconfigured cargo jets were waiting to fly them to military bases in California and Texas.

After consultations with health experts, the U.S. government decided to let the infected evacuees, who were not yet exhibiting symptoms, board the flights.

The reversal was the latest chaotic turn in a two-week quarantine of the ship, the Diamond Princess, that has become an epidemiological nightmare.

When Cambodia’s prime minister greeted passengers on a cruise ship amid a coronavirus scare on Valentine’s Day, embraces were the order of the day. Protective masks were not.

Not only did Prime Minister Hun Sen not wear one, assured that the ship was virus-free, his bodyguards ordered people who had donned masks to take them off. The next day, the American ambassador to Cambodia, W. Patrick Murphy, who brought his own family to greet the passengers streaming off the ship, also went maskless.

“We are very, very grateful that Cambodia has opened literally its ports and doors to people in need,” Mr. Murphy said. Five other ports had said no.

But after hundreds of passengers had disembarked, one later tested positive for the coronavirus.

Now, health officials worry that what Cambodia opened its doors to was the outbreak, and that the world may pay a price as passengers from the cruse ship Westerdam stream home.

Officials are testing those passengers still on the ship, but health authorities may be hard put to trace all the those who have headed back to their home.

Apple said on Monday that it was cutting its sales forecast because of the coronavirus, in a sign of how the outbreak is taking a toll on manufacturing, even at one of the world’s most valuable companies.

The announcement came hours before China announced new figures for the outbreak.

In a statement, the iPhone maker, which is heavily dependent on factories in China, said its supply of smartphones would be hurt because production was slowed by the outbreak.

None of the factories that make iPhones are in Hubei Province, the center of the outbreak, but travel restrictions have hindered other parts of the country as well. Production was taking longer than hoped to get back on track after the facilities reopened following the Lunar New Year holiday, the company said.

Apple said it was also cutting its sales forecast because demand for its products was being hurt in China. China has been one of the Silicon Valley company’s fastest-growing and largest markets.

Apple’s warning is significant because it is a bellwether of global demand and supply of products. The company said it was “fundamentally strong, and this disruption to our business is only temporary.”

Reporting and research was contributed by Hannah Beech, Richard C. Paddock, Motoko Rich and Daisuke Wakabayashi.



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