Published: Tue, February 18, 2020

Death toll in coronavirus in China climbs to over 1,860

Death toll in coronavirus in China climbs to over 1,860

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases out of 100,000 people gives a general sense of the intensity of the virus.

Even with the disparity in numbers, COVID-19 is dominating the headlines. Hubei, the central Chinese province at the center of the outbreak, accounted for 93 of the new deaths and 1,807 of the new cases. That brings the overall count of confirmed infections in China to 72,531 and the number of deaths to 1,870.

The State Department had dispatched the two flights to evacuate about 400 American passengers stuck on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

With few exceptions, only people who have traveled to China are at risk of getting COVID-19. One each were also killed in Hebei and Hunan.

The virus is thought to have originated at a "wet market" in Wuhan.

Earlier this month, public outrage was stirred by the death from the virus of Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang, who had been threatened by police after releasing word of an outbreak of an unusual respiratory illness in December before it had spread widely and the city was placed under quarantine.

The daily new confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside Hubei Province had dropped for 14 consecutive days by Monday, to reach the lowest record of 79, according to NHC's daily report. Two new prefabricated hospitals have been built to deal with the overflow in Wuhan and thousands of medical staff have been brought in from other parts of the country to help.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned against "blanket measures" over the novel coronavirus outbreak, pointing out the epidemic outside of China was only affecting a "tiny" proportion of the population. "Every scenario is still on the table", he said.

Japan had at least 518 confirmed cases, including the 454 from the cruise ship, and one death from the virus. Taiwan's Central News Agency, citing health minister Chen Shih-chung, said the man who died was in his 60s and had not traveled overseas recently and had no known contact with virus patients.

The Chinese CDC's study examined 44,672 cases of the disease that were confirmed in China as of February 11. Severe symptoms such as pneumonia occurred in 14% of them and critical illness in 5%.

Though 1,716 healthcare workers were infected in the outbreak, 5 of them fatally, there is no evidence of super-spreader events in healthcare facilities caring for COVID-19 cases, the group wrote. Those events were hallmarks of outbreaks involving severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Still, the fact that Xi was giving directives on containing the virus nearly two weeks before he made his first public statement on the issue raises questions about why China's top officials waited so long to take decisive action.

All but five deaths occurred inside mainland China, where an additional 98 fatal cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, were reported Tuesday morning.

Tedros also referred to an apparent decline in new cases of the disease in recent days but said that the trend "must be interpreted very cautiously". The infections have led to heavy criticism of the decision to quarantine passengers on the vessel.

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