'Too early' to declare coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency, WHO says


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  6 months ago  •  21 comments

By:   Erika Edwards

'Too early' to declare coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency, WHO says
"Make no mistake, this is an emergency in China," the director-general of the WHO said.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Spread of the new coronavirus that originated in China has not yet reached a level that would deem it a global public health emergency, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. The virus has sickened more than 600 people, and 25 have died.

"Now is not the time. It's too early to consider that this event is a public health emergency of international concern," Didier Houssin, chair of the WHO emergency committee, said during a news conference from Geneva.

Houssin said the decision is based on the limited number of cases worldwide, as well as efforts in China to try to contain the disease.

"Make no mistake, this is an emergency in China," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "But it is not yet a global health emergency."

Most of the patients have ties to the epicenter of the outbreak: Wuhan, China, though several cases have been reported in other Asian countries.   One patient has been diagnosed in the U.S .: a resident of Washington state who had traveled to Wuhan and is now recovering in a hospital.

Three cities in central China were put on lockdown   in an effort to stop the spread of the respiratory illness. It's an extraordinary measure, particularly this week, as hundreds of millions of Chinese residents were expected to travel in advance of the Lunar New Year, a major holiday, on Saturday.

Tedros said he hopes the travel restrictions will be "both effective and short in duration."

The WHO committee plans to come up with an official name for the illness caused by the new virus, now known as 2019-nCoV. That means it's a novel, or new, coronavirus that was discovered in 2019.

"For the time being, this name is OK. We can work with it, and it's understood by everyone on the planet," Dr. Sylvie Briand, director of the WHO's pandemic and epidemic diseases department, said during the press briefing, adding the committee members hadn't had time to discuss the name.

Naming an illness can be difficult and contentious. Public health officials generally avoid linking a virus to any particular region, especially one that can cause severe illness or death.

The WHO's official declaration of a "public health emergency of international concern" is reserved for unusual and serious public health events that have the potential to spread disease worldwide.

The designation has been used sparingly in recent years, including during the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic; the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa; and the Zika virus epidemic in 2015-16.

The hope is that such a formal declaration from the WHO would improve and streamline information gathering and sharing about the new illness about which little is known, as well as potentially increase funding for the response.

Earlier this month, Chinese researchers shared the full genomic sequence of the new virus to public databases, making it possible for health officials worldwide to study it and test for it.

Preliminary analyses suggest the new virus may share some genetic similarities with SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. SARS also originated in China, and spread quickly to more than two dozen countries. More than 8,000 people became ill during the 2003 outbreak, and nearly 800 people died.

The new coronavirus is a different strain, and it's unknown whether it will be as severe or as contagious as SARS.

In a letter published Thursday in the   Journal of the American Medical Association , researchers from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases wrote that "so far, it appears that the fatality rate of 2019-nCoV is lower than that of SARS-CoV."

But the outbreak is still evolving, and much of it remains unknown. There is no specific treatment for the new virus, though several antivirals and potential vaccines are under preliminary investigation.

"We have to be very, very careful in the beginning of an epidemic in making any pronouncements about the true severity," Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies program, said at the news conference.

"It’s extremely important that we stick to the facts," Ryan said. "The facts are that 17 people have died. Their families grieve them this evening."


jrDiscussion - desc
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Perrie Halpern R.A.
1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.    6 months ago

There is so much that we don't know about the coronavirus in humans. For instance, in cats they get a similar reaction to the virus when they first get it. The virus then goes into hiding for years and evolves into a fatal disease called FIP or feline infectious peritonitis. Since this virus came from animals that were never meant to be eaten, the course of this disease may have an unpredictable outcome.  

Buzz of the Orient
2  Buzz of the Orient    6 months ago

I first had an intention to post some joke about WHO being on first, but since I'm probably the closest NT member to being affected by this virus and being of the most vulnerable age (most of the fatalities were) I'm kind of concerned about the possible spread of this virus.  I rarely go out these days, and certainly don't want to find myself in a crowded place if there's any reason to leave home. 

The Chinese government and the provincial and municipal ones are taking this matter very seriously.

On Thursday, the WHO praised the measures Wuhan adopted to control the outbreak, saying it showed commitment to reducing risks.

"What they are doing is a very, very strong measure and with full commitment. So based on the situation, they are taking the action they deem is appropriate, is very important," Tedros said.

"We stressed to them that by having a strong action not only will they control the outbreak in their country, but they will also minimize the chances of this outbreak spreading internationally. So they recognize that."


2.1  JBB  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2    6 months ago

Several suspected cases of the Coronavirus have already been identified here in the US today traced to students who traveled to the US from China...


2.1.1  Ronin2  replied to  JBB @2.1    6 months ago

So much for containment.  Don't worry though, this is just like the Ebola scare./S

2.1.2  Tessylo  replied to  JBB @2.1    6 months ago

Yikes!  I work for a University Medical School and they are sending out notifications/alerts about any students who traveled from the US from China as well . . . this is serious stuff here.  

2.1.3  MUVA  replied to  Tessylo @2.1.2    6 months ago

Get a mask and tell people to stay away.jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png

2.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  MUVA @2.1.3    6 months ago

That's moronic.  

2.1.5  MUVA  replied to  Tessylo @2.1.4    6 months ago

Just giving you advice to keep you safe.

Perrie Halpern R.A.
2.1.6  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  MUVA @2.1.5    6 months ago

Actually masks will not prevent you from getting the virus, since viruses can penetrate them. What they do help is spreading the virus and it will contain some of it, if a person coughs or sneezes. 

Buzz of the Orient
2.1.7  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  MUVA @2.1.3    6 months ago

Only some kinds of masks will work to prevent an airborne virus,  There are many other things that must be done, like if you must go out, try to avoid being crowded, not touching your eyes or lips, and on return carefully washing your hands. 

Perrie Halpern R.A.
2.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2    6 months ago
 I rarely go out these days, and certainly don't want to find myself in a crowded place if there's any reason to leave home. 

Don't blame you, Buzz.

3  Freefaller    6 months ago

Meh not going to worry about this.  People will panic for awhile, a few will get sick maybe dying, then an inoculation will come out, those that want it will get it and we'll all move on to the next shiny object that grabs our attention

Trout Giggles
3.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Freefaller @3    6 months ago

I don't worry about epidemics.

Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.1.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1    6 months ago
I don't worry about epidemics.

Well, not much you can do personally, but our medical community needs to. 

Remember, viruses sole purpose in nature, is population control. 

3.1.2  JBB  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1    6 months ago

That is the exact attitude most Americans took regarding the AIDS Epidemic in the 1980s. After all, it only affected gay men and IV drug users. Right? What did straight Americans have to fear? President Reagan was not concerned. In eight years he has ever even uttered the word. 

To date 25,000,000+ men, women and children have perished from AIDS. 38,000,000+ are now infected. About 2,000,000 more become infected each year.

Of course, it is pretty hard to get AIDS if you now how it is transmitted...unlike an airborne virus. I am not saying you should be wringing your hands making yourself sick with worry. I am saying taking the Alfred E Newman, "What Me Worry?", attitude feels awfully cavalier. 

Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Freefaller @3    6 months ago

There has been no vaccination for this virus. I lost 2 cats to it later in their lives from the mutated form FIP. 

3.2.1  Freefaller  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3.2    6 months ago
There has been no vaccination for this virus

Patience there will be, my bet is easily before Jun

Buzz of the Orient
3.2.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Freefaller @3.2.1    6 months ago

It normally takes a year to create one and bring it to being available for use on humans.  

3.2.3  Freefaller  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3.2.2    6 months ago

Just repeating what I read in another article

The Magic Eight Ball
3.2.4  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3.2.2    4 months ago
It normally takes a year to create one and bring it to being available for use on humans.

a new vaccine? yes

   a cure?


already passed human trials, they have been using it for years,  so it is a known entity and can be distributed almost overnight.

4  Kavika     6 months ago

Another case was just diagnosed in Chicago.


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