The ancient Chinese calendar says that according to legend this year is lucky since it is the Year of the Rat, yet events now occurring in China and neighborhood threatens our world health with a pandemic.
Fears the new virus could be spread were further stoked by the fact it has happened just before hundreds of millions of Chinese are set to travel for the Chinese New Year, on the 25th of this month.
China’s peak travel season has already pushed the number infected by this mystery corona virus to be far greater than official Chinese government figures claim.
Some world health experts estimate real numbers are closer to 2000 with at least 41 laboratory confirmed cases and two fatalities in the Chinese city of Wuhan, a suburb of Beijing.
This SARS related corona virus according to Chinese officials has not as yet spread from person to person instead, it allegedly has crossed into humans through direct contact with infected animals encountered at a seafood and wildlife market in Wuhan.
Perhaps, downplaying the seriousness of this outbreak the Chinese officials are trying to give the impression that they have everything under control when in reality what we are seeing is just the dawn of the next global pandemic.
According to one world expert we should be considering the possibility of a massive spike in human-to-human transmission now that this bug has escaped into China’s neighborhood and beyond.
The World Health Organization has confirmed data given by China, that this new unknown member of the corona virus family is definitely related to SARS.
Just like SARS, it causes respiratory symptoms such as fever, chills, headaches, sore throat, difficult breathing associated with pneumonia responsible for the deaths of at least two people in China.
During the 2003 SARS pandemic more than 25% developed severe respiratory failure of which about 10% died.
This virus kills susceptible, infected, people by interfering with the body’s enzyme system in the lungs drowning the air sacs in anti-body produced liquid.
It can also cause pulmonary tuberculosis leading to severe damage internal organ function and resulting death, this what finished its second confirmed victim, an older man.
Infection is spread in similar fashion to other viruses, the infected coughing and sneezing propelling microscopic droplets in the air which contaminate the healthy, handshakes with the already infected, touching contaminated objects like doorknobs, grocery store wheeled cart handles etc., followed by touching of nose or eyes!
As this is written, things seem somewhat under control however, as like many viruses, this one can morph into a more deadly variant, which the world wouldn’t be remotely prepared to handle creating something similar to the 1918 Spanish Flu.
We are more advanced in medicine and drugs compared to 1918 when 50 million died however, certain noted organizations using the advances in AI predict that we will experience an outbreak within the next decade or two.
It is interesting that this outbreak happens during the year of the rat since more than 60% of human diseases are infections crossing over from animals and let us remember rats played a leading role in Europe’s “Black Death” during the middle ages.
Unlike during the middle ages when things were generally contained in a small geographical area today’s air travel expands and speeds up the rate of infection of our globe exponentially if a deadly virus is not checked quickly enough.
By-the-way, did I already mention that hundreds of thousands of Chinese are flying to be with relatives all over the globe because their New Year is on the 25th!