Death Toll Mounts In China, U.S. Braces For Long Fight

CBS News – The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the new coronavirus, which has killed almost 1,400 people and is still spreading in China, could be around for at least another year.

With the Chinese government reporting 121 more deaths and more than 5,000 new cases Thursday alone, the illness dubbed COVID-19 didn’t even appear to have peaked.

Chinese health officials in the epicenter province of Hubei changed the way they officially diagnosed the disease this week, leading early Thursday to a sudden, alarming jump of about 14,000 new cases recorded in the region.

But the person in charge of managing emergencies for the World Health Organization said that jump in the Chinese statistics did not indicate “a significant change in the trajectory of the outbreak.”

It wasn’t necessarily the “tip of an iceberg,” said the WHO’s Mike Ryan.

While the disease takes a fast-mounting toll, and sparks increasing scenes of draconian control measures being enforced in mainland China, there have been only three deaths blamed on it elsewhere; one each in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

The U.S. has 15 confirmed cases, but none are said to be suffering serious symptoms.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. and around the world, evacuees flown back to their countries from Hubei province and put under immediate two-week quarantines continue to be released back into public life after being cleared of the disease.

Passengers from a cruise ship that was denied entry by five countries over fears of the virus finally disembarked Friday in Cambodia, expressing deep gratitude to the country’s leader as he welcomed them with roses … Read more. 

Japan reports first COVID-19 death to take global total to 1,710

Feb 14, 2020

Sky News – A total of 48,206 cases of COVID-19 are now being treated in Hubei province alone, most of them in the city of Wuhan.

Japan has announced its first death from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, taking the global total to 1,710.

Health minister Katsunobu Kato said the victim was a woman in her 80s who had been in hospital since 1 February, when she was diagnosed with pneumonia, with the COVID-19 diagnosis coming after her death.

The woman was a resident of Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo, but officials have refused to comment on Japanese media reports that she was the mother-in-law of a taxi driver who is also a confirmed case.

‘Coronavirus outbreak could still go in any direction’

There have now been two deaths outside China, with the other coming in the Philippines, with the vast majority of confirmed cases and fatalities still restricted to Hubei province – the epicentre of the outbreak.

On Wednesday night, more than 14,800 new cases of the COVID-19, the disease which is caused by the coronavirus, were reported in Hubei.

Health officials there also confirmed 242 new deaths from the flu-like virus – the fastest rise since the pathogen was identified in December.