Coronavirus Has Already Caused More Deaths Than SARS

Wuhan’s pneumonia, caused by a type of coronavirus that emerged in that Chinese city in December, has already surpassed the epidemic of acute and severe respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 in death toll: at least 813 have perished as a result of the first, by 774 of the second.

In its latest report, published today, the National Health Commission of China indicated that 811 people had succumbed to the disease in mainland China, while two others (one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong) have perished for the same reason in the last eight days.

This puts the number of coronavirus victims 39 deaths above those recorded by SARS, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

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And the margin between both epidemics could continue to grow, as health authorities said today that at least 6,188 serious cases have been diagnosed.

As for the number of infections, it has been days since the coronavirus exceeded SARS. This Sunday, 37,198 cases were identified in mainland China alone, while the SARS epidemic spread 8,096 people worldwide.

SAME GEOGRAPHICAL ORIGIN, DIFFERENT GLOBAL IMPACT

Although both coronavirus and SARS originated in China (in Wuhan, the first; in Canton, the second), the geographical distribution of deaths is radically different.

With the SARS, 349 people lost their lives in mainland China, by 299 in Hong Kong, 43 in Canada, 37 in Taiwan and 33 in Singapore, to mention only the most affected places, always according to the figures from WHO.

However, on this occasion, the coronavirus has skewed 811 lives in mainland China (most of them, in the central-eastern province of Hubei, of which Wuhan is the capital), one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.

Both epidemics are in pairs in the number of countries affected, at least so far: about thirty, although in the case of the coronavirus in mainland China, it accumulates around 99% of cases worldwide.

Unlike SARS, the coronavirus epidemic has been declared an international emergency by WHO, which has stressed that it did not make the decision for what happened in China, but for the effect it could have on developing countries that do not have the measures Containment sanitary necessary.

KEEP CLASSING THE PREVENTIVE MATERIAL

And although the Chinese Government insists that they do have a strong containment system (the new cases of infections recorded outside Hubei continue to decline, for example), the truth is that the supply of basic elements in the fight against the disease as Masks or protective suits are still in short supply.

Thus, the National Health Commission highlighted today that there continues to be a mismatch between the demand for these materials and their production, and therefore issued guidelines for ‘the reasonable use of medical protection material’.

The National Reform and Development Commission, under the State Council (the Chinese Executive) admitted these shortcomings during a press conference held in Beijing this Sunday, so it is pressing manufacturers to increase production, and promised them not only financial aid, but also in terms of licenses, raw materials or facilities.

Among the objects whose need is more pressing: protective suits and goggles, masks, analysis and detection equipment, thermometers and medicines to fight the disease.

In the same vein, the authorities of the Chinese capital prohibited officials from using masks of the N95 model, the most demanded for their safety by health services, so as to guarantee their supply to medical workers, according to the newspaper State Global Times.

UNPROVISED MASKS

“Not all health personnel have protective equipment,” a Wuhan university student requesting anonymity assures Efe.

‘We wear masks when we go out. As the N95 is scarce, we use normal surgical masks and leave the N95 for doctors, ‘he says, adding that both the masks and disinfectant liquids have not been found’ for a long time ‘in Wuhan pharmacies, epicenter of the outbreak and quarantine’ de facto ‘since January 23.

‘I have seen people with homemade masks made with towels or fruit peels,’ adds the young man.

MORE REACTIONS FOR THE DEATH OF DOCTOR LI

On the other hand, the reactions to the death of Dr. Li Wenliang, who died in the early hours of Friday (GMT + 8) as a result of Wuhan’s pneumonia, which he contracted during the performance of his profession at Wuhan Central Hospital, continue.

At the end of December, Li had alerted some colleagues by profession to take precautions because he had known about the diagnosis of patients with a new type of pneumonia similar to SARS, but Wuhan Police detected his message in the censored Chinese networks and rebuked him for ‘spreading rumors’.

His death, more than a month later and by the same virus he was trying to warn about, unleashed an immense wave of indignation and criticism against the Government, and in the last hours a video has emerged in which the doctor’s mother demands answers to the questions raised by the story of his son.

“We will not be well if they do not give us an explanation,” says the woman, quoted today by the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post. EFE

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