Fears Mount as Cases of Chinas Viral Pneumonia Surge Exponentially

It started with a light cough. He burped constantly, and complained of shortness of breath.

Family members thought it was no big deal. The doctor said he seemed to have heart problems and suggested him to stay in the hospital. He appeared healthy except for a minor infection in one lung area.

Two weeks later, he was dead, with both lungs infected and organ failure. His doctors at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital determined the cause of death as “unknown pneumonia.”

It was days before Chinese health authorities identified the cause of the new viral pneumonia as 2019-nCoV, a coronavirus that first emerged in December in the commercial city of Wuhan, his home city.

As of press time, the virus has since sickened more than 540 people across China and around the world, with confirmed cases in South Korea, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States.

Much remains unclear about the virus that has sparked fear around the world and cast a cloud over the upcoming Lunar New Year festivities, a major traditional holiday when millions of Chinese travel to their hometowns or go on vacations abroad. Experts say the mass movement of people could accelerate the diseases spread.

The virus has already spread across the country to 17 provinces and regions.

To the mans family, his death is far from the end of their sorrows. Among his relatives, five have fallen ill: one is under emergency rescue at a Wuhan hospital; his niece and nephew-in-law also have lung infections but doctors turned them away, saying theres no space for them at the hospital; two others are also experiencing pneumonia-like symptoms. Buying one dose of medicine means waiting for hours in line.

His sister, currently in Norway, told The Epoch Times that she was being “silenced” by Chinese authorities and not allowed to post anything about his death. She has requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.

“My tears have run dry now,” she said.

She said that if her niece and nephew-in-law does not receive treatment soon, she will ask her family in China to protest on the streets against the authorities.

“We are nobodies without any resources, but we also need to survive.”

Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreaks In China
Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreaks In China
Security personnel check the temperature of passengers in the Wharf at the Yangtze River in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on Jan. 22, 2020. (Getty Images)

Traits of the Virus

Health experts have been comparing the Wuhan virus with SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), all belonging to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses.

Some suspect that the new disease originated from bats, which also carried the first SARS and MERS pathogens, but questions remain as to how far the new coronavirus has changed from its original form.

Coronaviruses are known for their adaptability and can change very quickly, according to Michael Lai, a molecular biologist with the Taiwanese institute Academia Sinica.

“The virus can more easily replicate across humans,” which could make it more contagious, Lai said. “The virus in a patient will continue to evolve … it can easily stay in the community for a very long time,” he said, calling on Chinese authorities to learn from the SARS experience.

Due to the Chinese regimes initial cover-up, SARS spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002 to 2003, killing almost 800 people and infecting more than 8,000.

Ih-Jen Su, who was head of the Taiwan governments response team to the SARS outbreak in 2002 to 2003, said that given the recent developments, with dozens of new cases each day, “Im afraid the illness is spreading more quickly and severely than SARS.” Su is also a medical investigator at the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan.

In that outbreak, the first case appeared in China in November 2002 and spread to Hong Kong and Taiwan in March 2003.

Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreaks In China
Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreaks In China
A woman wears a mask while riding an electric bicycle in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on Jan. 22, 2020. (Getty Images)

Fears Spreading

A woman from Wuhan who asked to remain Read More – Source