News of the Wuhan Coronavirus is alarming as its reach expands far beyond its reported origin and the counts of cases and deaths grow exponentially.
As of the morning of January 27, 2020, there were 2886 cases and 81 deaths worldwide including 5 officially confirmed cases in the US (Seattle, Chicago, Santa Ana, Los Angeles, Arizona) and 2 in Canada (a married couple in Toronto). By evening, the number was up to 4474 cases with 107 deaths.
The Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Global Cases Map is being published and updated by Johns Hopkins University using data from WHO (World Health Organization) and other sources. It is an excellent tool to visualize how the disease is spreading.
Based upon the data for Hubei province on the right hand side of that map web page, it seems the death rate for the infection may be trending above 5%. The city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China is the reported origin, and therefore the cases in that area are generally likely to be further along and closer to reaching their ultimate conclusions of recovery or fatality. Of course, numerous factors including available medical services and viral mutations will have an effect on such statistics.
University of Hong Kong researchers in the morning were estimating the actual number of infections could already be far higher, perhaps 44,000. It appears many are not diagnosed until the infection is already developing into pneumonia.
There are allegations China does not have enough virus test kits or is not allowing their use, thus the official number of infections is much lower than the actual numbers. Additionally, those test kits are reportedly being used on the less severe cases, thus skewing the reported death rate lower than actual while saving government spending on treating people who are viewed as likely to die.
The outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus is far bigger than the official figures released by Chinese public health authorities who cover up the severity by limiting the number of diagnosis kits to Wuhan hospitals, according to an insider and an independent journalist.
The insider and the independent journalist both say that diagnosis kits are only provided to certain “qualifying hospitals” and in very limited quantities. Medical personnel at these hospitals have said that the number of kits they are supplied is less than 10 percent of what they need to test patients.
He further explained that another reason for the CDC’s reluctance to provide diagnosis is that, when a patient is confirmed as having been infected with the coronavirus, he or she will be able to receive free treatment. The government will then pay for their treatment, he said.
In addition, the hospitals that are qualified to perform tests try to select those patients whose symptoms are mild for diagnosis.
“Patients exhibiting mild symptoms have a much higher chance to be cured,” he explained. “By selecting this type of patient for diagnosis, the fatality rate appears much lower than what it is in reality.”
A Russian expert from the Russian Academy of Sciences estimates the coronavirus may become a global pandemic around March 2020 based upon the current pattern of spread.
The Lancet (a well-known medical journal) has published reports of early cases in Wuhan. The authors report 83% of those exposed in close contact became infected and 15% of the infected died. The sample size of 41 people is very small, so these percentages are virtually certain to change as more data becomes available.
A mortality rate of 15% is obviously concerning. As it is within the range of prior coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS (10% mortality) and MERS (37% mortality), it is plausible.
Although most human coronavirus infections are mild, the epidemics of the two betacoronaviruses, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have caused more than 10,000 cumulative cases in the past two decades, with mortality rates of 10% for SARS-CoV and 37% for MERS-CoV.
However, it could be inflated. In such a small study at the early stages of the outbreak, it may be the patients who were included in the study were sicker than many who didn’t visit a hospital or see a doctor, thus making mortality appear worse than actual.
You can read the full Lancet articles here:
- Emerging understandings of 2019-nCoV
- Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel
coronavirus in Wuhan, China
- A familial cluster of pneumonia associated with the 2019
novel coronavirus indicating person-to-person transmission:
a study of a family cluster
Previous pandemics of influenza and SARS (a type of coronavirus, stands for either “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome” or “Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome”) reportedly can lead to deadly sepsis which is responsible for many deaths as the patient’s own immune system hyper-reaction causes huge damage. It is possible the 2019-nCoV virus may also cause sepsis given the many similarities between the viruses.
Preparing to protect your family and yourself from such pandemics involves learning more about these diseases and what you can do about them. There is a highly informative chapter in Stephen Buhner’s excellent 5-star rated book Herbal Antivirals that covers potentially pandemic viruses such as SARS, coronavirus, and influenza. It details much of the disease processes and includes both scientific and practical information on herbs that can be used against such infections.
Many of the herbs he uses for his protocols are common and readily available, for instance Chinese skullcap and licorice root. These two are frequently mentioned in the book as useful against many viruses.
Buhner provides further details on sepsis and herbs that he says will help reduce damage. He even offers a short addendum with his ideas for managing Ebola virus infections.
Even if you are fortunate enough to never be faced directly with any of these alarming diseases, the sections on other common viral infections and the scientific basis of the herbs he recommends are fascinating reading material.
He also provides a section on preparing herbs for use in forms such as water-based extractions and alcohol tinctures. His insights could help you determine what herbs (and in what forms) may be worth stocking for immediate access to help handle both common mild infections (e.g., common cold) and worse.
As sepsis is such a major risk with severe infections, also read Hydrocortisone, Ascorbic Acid and Thiamine (HAT Therapy) for the Treatment of Sepsis. Focus on Ascorbic Acid. by Paul E. Marik, MD. You may not be able to obtain the hydrocortisone (drug form of cortisol) without a doctor’s prescription, but both vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin B1 (thiamine) are readily available and inexpensive. The full HAT Therapy protocol when used appropriately appears to be effective based upon the Marik’s HAT Therapy patient study.
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