Coronavirus death toll in China now 131 with 4,630 cases

Chinese meat markets sell the usual poultry, beef and pork and other forms of meat including rodents, yaks, snakes, tortoises, porcupines etc. With the rising number of people being infected with the novel Corona virus, fingers are pointing towards these small time sellers of unregulated meat that could be carrying the virus.

This Sunday (26th of January 2020), Chinese Health officials made a statement saying the wild animal trading would be suspended until further notice to contain the spread of the virus among the populations exposed to these contaminated meats. Three Government agencies issued a joint statement to the press stating that this ban would “not be lifted until the epidemic is declared over”. The statement warned that those caught violating this ban would face criminal investigation.

Coronavirus diagram
Cross-sectional model of a coronavirus - Images combined from a 3D medical animation, depicting the shape of coronavirus as well as the cross-sectional view. Image shows the major elements including the Spike S protein, HE protein, viral envelope, and helical RNA

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus sample has been isolated and tested and diagnostic centres are being set up to confirm the virus presence in symptomatic individuals. The CDC added that the virus samples have been detected in contaminated sea food and wild meat samples as well and these could be the source of the infection. The CDC said that of the 31 samples taken from the wild meat markets or the Huanan Seafood Wholesales Market, over a dozen were positive for the DNA of the corona virus.

The virus was identified first by Professor Leo Poon from Hong Kong University. He said, “I would believe that this Wuhan outbreak was caused by animal virus and then the animal actually carried this back to the human.” Officials reminded the similar corona virus caused the 2003 SARS outbreak in China and the virus origin was traced to civet meat. Nearly 700 people died in the SARS outbreak at the time and civet is still being sold say officials.

The Wuhan corona virus has been detected in over 4,630 individuals across the world and is spreading fast say health agencies. In China alone, the virus has killed 131 and over a dozen cities across the nation are reeling under the attack of the virus. Public transport, schools and other public areas are being shut down to contain the outbreak of the virus. Over 60 million lives have been affected by the shutdown of the cities, say officials. The virus has also been detected in 16 different places across the world and health officials are fighting to contain the spread by restricting travel and placing suspected infected individuals under quarantine.

Effects of the virus spread on the economy

The rapid spread of the corona virus outbreak that has been linked to the meat markets in China is slated to have a significant impact on the economy. China's health minister Ma Xiaowei said in a statement, “'it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger” adding that the sprad could occur before the index case shows symptoms. According to the researchers studying the virus at the Imperial College London, the rate the virus is spreading, it could have affected over 100,000 globally.

According to reports the stock benchmarks on Monday in the United States closed sharply with records of daily losses seen in all the three indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA fell 453.93 points, the S&P 500 index SPX fell by 51.84 points and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP fell by 175.60 points say reports. This fall for the Dow and S&P 500 was the worst since 2nd October last year say experts. For the Nasdaq Composite this was the sharpest decline since 23rs August last year. The fall in the Dow has been a record consecutive five days. The Chinese economy would also take a sharp hit say experts with a slowdown of 5.7 percent predicted in 2021 from 6.1 percent in 2019.

Getting concepts regarding the virus straight

There is a widespread panic regarding the corona virus and with circulating news on social media, there is a rise in miscconceptions among the general public say experts. Some of the facts regarding the Wuhan corona virus are;

  • There are many strains of the corona virus and not all of them are dangerous.
  • This new strain of the virus was detected first in 2019 and is called 2019-nCoV or 2019 novel coronavirus.
  • The definite origin of the corona virus has been under investigation and the origins are being linked to wild meat and sea foods. The origins are not yet confirmed say experts
  • There are no vaccines against this strain of the virus

Confirmed cases of the 2019 novel corona virus have been detected and confirmed from different nations in Asia, Europe and North America.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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