Outbreak’s Peak? And a New, Stigma-Defying Name

Chinese officials have expressed hope the novel coronavirus outbreak could be peaking, citing a fall in new cases in the last couple of days, the AP reports.

But Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan cautioned that much work remains.

And there are clear signs that health care workers may not be protected adequately. The South China Morning Post reports infections in at least 500 health care workers in Wuhan—and that medical workers have been warned to keep the total from the public.

To stop the virus, critical information gaps need to be closed. Caitlin M. Rivers and Tom Inglesby, of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, highlighted 3 priorities in a STAT commentary:

  • Understanding health care worker infections

  • Understanding the circumstances around deaths

  • Nailing down the surveillance strategy across China

Finally, the novel coronavirus has an official name: COVID-19, NPR Goats and Soda reports. It takes “COVI” from coronavirus, "D" for disease, and 19 for 2019, the year the virus was first identified.

The WHO ticked all the boxes with the new moniker—steering clear of ties to a specific place, person, food, animal, or profession—in keeping with the agency’s 2015 stigma-busting guidelines for naming infectious diseases.

The Numbers (APCNN):

Cases: 44,653 on mainland China

Deaths: 1,115 (1,113 in China)

Countries/continents affected: 28

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