Coronavirus death toll now 25, Beijing confirms 830 infected

  • 8 Chinese cities, more than 23 million people, effectively under quarantine
  • Multiple cases across the world – from Scotland to Singapore and USA
  • 830 Infected in mainland China according to Chinese officials (Mainland China: 830 Taiwan: 1 Macau: 2 Hong Kong: 2 Vietnam: 2 Thailand: 3 Singapore: 1 Japan: 1 South Korea: 1 US: 1).
  • 25 Dead (following 1st death outside Wuhan)
  • WHO says “not the time to declare a global health emergency”
  • Patient in Texas recently traveled to Wuhan
  • WHO estimates coronavirus is about as contagious as the Spanish flu, more than twice as infectious as the common flu.

Update (1920ET): As Friday begins in Beijing, Chinese state media has announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in mainland China has climbed to 830, while the number of deaths has climbed to 25

Meanwhile, more disturbing videos out of Wuhan are circulating online as reports about a growing number of sick health-care workers circulate in the Hong Kong press.

In other news, US lawmakers are set to be briefed on the virus Friday morning.

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Update (1750ET): Japan’s health ministry confirmed a second case of coronavirus on Friday, reported Reuters.

The infected man who lives in Wuhan, China, traveled to Japan on Sunday — has been hospitalized in Tokyo, the health ministry said in a statement.

Details are limited at the moment. There was no mention of how many people the infected man came in contact with before being quarantined. New reports out of the UK are claiming that 14 people are now being tested for the virus after earlier reports said 3 people in Scotland were under quarantine as suspected carriers of the virus.

Meanwhile, the number of cities in Hubei province facing a travel ban/lockdown/quarantine has been expanded to eight: Wuhan, Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi, Xiantao, Qianjiang, Zhijiang and Lichuan.

SCMP has also released some more details about the first death outside of Hubei: An 80-year-old man died in the town of Hebei after spending two months in Wuhan visiting relatives.

Back in Wuhan, ride-share company Didi has suspended its service, as China’s finance ministry announced that 1 billion yuan ($144 million) would be used by Hubei authorities to halt the spread of the illness.

Also, in the latest sign that the regime in Beijing hasn’t kept its promise of complete transparency, the SCMP reports that health-care workers in Wuhan are getting sick at a rate that is faster than previously revealed. Initially, Chinese authorities insisted that health care workers weren’t being sickened, indicating that the virus didn’t spread via human to human contact. But we’ve since learned that this was a lie.

Fifteen cases of the coronavirus have been officially reported among health care workers in the city, though doctors say the real number is much higher.

Just as we expected, the situation in Wuhan has gotten so out of hand that videos of health-care workers collapsing from exhaustion are circulating online.

If it seems like every person who managed to escape Wuhan is carrying the virus, here’s one possible explanation: the WHO estimated that the coronavirus has a Ro (a measure of how contagious a virus is) of 2, equivalent to the Spanish flu that sickened 500 million during the first half of the 20th century. The common flu, by comparison, has a Ro of 0.9.

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Update (1600ET): Markets recovered on Thursday after the WHO declined to label the coronavirus as a global pandemic threat (though we suspect they might change their view once the market has closed).

But now that Beijing’s shock-and-awe approach to containing the viral panic appears to have convinced health officials that the virus won’t make it to the next generation of transmission, it’s worth remembering that Beijing’s attempt to quarantine more than 20 million people was hardly comprehensive.

For examples, look at this Vice story, which claims one woman evaded airport checks by taking medication that lowered a fever. According to Vice, the Chinese embassy in Paris is hoping to speak with her after she visited a Michelin-starred restaurant and shared the whole experience on WeChat.

The warning came after one woman from Wuhan took medicine to bring down her temperature to avoid detection as she boarded a flight to France, where she dined at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

The woman was heavily criticized for her actions after she posted photos and details of her trip on WeChat. On Wednesday night the Chinese embassy in France responded with a warning and asked the woman to contact their emergency phone number.

Some people won’t let the risk of contagion spoil their holiday plans.

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Update (1530ET): 7News reports that an individual suspected of coronavirus infection has been quarantined in Sydney.

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Update (1510ET): Investigators are reportedly examining another potential case of coronavirus in Texas’s Brazos County.

The patient recently traveled from Wuhan and is reportedly suffering from symptoms similar to those who have been infected by the virus .

Meanwhile, a passenger at LAX has been quarantined after showing symptoms of the virus. That patient arrived at LAX from Mexico City and exhibited “disturbing” symptoms, according to health officials, per Fox 5.

This development comes a day after Los Angeles County public health officials said it was “very possible” the area will see at least one patient, given the number of people traveling between the Southland and China.

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Update (1325ET): The World Health Organization, after a second day of meetings, have decided AGAINST declaring an international virus alarm. The panel was reportedly split on the decision and may revise the decision but for now states that “now is not the time” to declare an emergency.

“Make no mistake: This is an emergency in China,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“But it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.”

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Update (1300ET): CNBC’s Eunice Yoon just provided a shocking update to the status of the deadly virus in China:

“7 cities and 23 million people are effectively under quarantine.”

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The Shepard Ambellas Show is an all original fast-paced comedy, variety, news show where nearly everything goes. Shepard Ambellas is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular independent news website (news and politics). Bethany Adoni sits shotgun. The Shepard Ambellas Show airs LIVE weekdays (Mon-Fri) on the Shepard Ambellas YouTube channel from 5-7 pm Eastern/4C/2P. Subscribe now! Turn notifications on immediately. The show is nationally syndicated on iHeart Radio. An archived version of the show is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, JioSaavn, and Spreaker for you listening pleasure.