Friday, February 07, 2020


7th February 2020

When it was first suggested that UK nationals should be flown out of Wuhan, I remarked that it might be better if all international flights were grounded, reducing both the speed of infection spread and our carbon emissions.

There is a key point being missed in the reports about the death of Li Wenliang, the doctor who called, in late December, for greater measures to prevent the infection spreading, and was criticised by his government for his pains.

This report in the Guardian ends thus:

"But in early January he treated a woman with glaucoma without realising she was also a coronavirus patient; he appears to have been infected during the operation."

The time between infection and death in this single case appears to have been around five weeks.

One of the major factors determining whether 2019nCoV peters out relatively harmlessly or becomes a global pandemic that kills ten of millions of people, is the mortality rate. This has not yet been confidently determined. It is likely to be higher if there is a big time-lag between the time of infection and the time of death. If there is a longer time-lag then more of people who have been infected already will succumb and the eventual outcome worldwide looks more grim.

People should know about this sort of stuff.

Picture from Medscape

Here's an interview, from 5th February, with Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, discussing the situation and how we deal with uncertainty when the stakes are so high.


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