COVID-19 Proving Wilier than its Cousin, SARS

It is looking like COVID-19 spreads much easier than SARS, will be harder to contain, and cause greater harm, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The public health strategies that worked on the 2003 SARS outbreak are proving less effective against the new coronavirus, partly because of the sheer number of cases, says Lawrence Gostin.

Japan's struggle against COVID-19 offers clues on the outbreak’s direction and pandemic potential, CNBC reports. Syra Madad, an expert in public health and special pathogen response, says, “We’re really closing in on the tipping of this being declared a pandemic.”

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb agreed that Japan seems to be “on the cusp of a large outbreak,” and said if any other countries report a sharp rise in cases it could indicate COVID-19 will be very tough to contain globally.

As most of Japan’s cases emerged on a quarantined cruise ship that appeared to serve as an incubator for the virus—with more than 540 cases—public health experts question the handling of the quarantine, saying the conditions imposed were “morally dubious and appear counterproductive,” The Guardian reports.

Latest Numbers (from AP):

  • Mainland China: 74,185; 2,004 deaths
  • Outside China: ~1,000 infections; 5 deaths
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