I want to diverge from my usual topics today to bring additional information and concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan Province in China.
On Wednesday Chinese officials release data stating that almost 15,000 new cases — mainly in neighboring Hubei Province — were reported with deaths soaring from 242 to 1,310, according to hospital reports.
Chinese government officials have not released new information recently on new cases or deaths. However most observers believe the Chinese government have under reported many numbers to hide the fact that it has been overwhelmed by the outbreak.
Some reports from the World Health Organization suggests that the mortality rate of this virus could be as high as 15 percent.
We do not even know who was patient zero and how the virus was discovered. Early reports in Dec. suggested an outdoor market selling various animal products from bats to snakes, however WuHan is also the location of the only Cjinese biosafety level-4 virology lab, which requires precautions to isolate the most dangerous biological agents in an enclosed laboratory facility including coronavirus.
On Wednesday, the Chinese government removed senior health officials in Wuhan and named Chen Wei, China’s top biochemical weapons expert to lead efforts to overcome the deadly, pneumonia-like pathogen.
The virus does not kill its host directly, it is the body’s response that causes a cytokine storm — an overproduction of immune cells — causing the lungs to fill with mucus which causes pneumonia-like response.
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton spoke in a Senate committee this week on the fears that this could turn into a pandemic and was questioning US military officials on their preparations for such a future.
Cotton went on to question if the coronavirus was a bio-weapon, which was released accidentally. Cotton tweeted below.
“I’m afraid that the #coronavirus could actually be the single biggest threat to both global and U.S. growth this year. What really spreads fear is China lying about the origins of this disease and about the number of people who have it.”
So needless to say this virus outbreak will surely cause a worldwide panic in the next month or so if the Chinese do not get a handle on the situation.
China is already suffering economic hardship, according to some Wall Street analysts reports. If this continues the official reports will continue to be under reported to get trade and manufacturing back to pre-outbreak levels.
My questions to the Trump administration is why have we not banned air travel from China yet? Why are we not quarantining Chinese shipping from US ports?
I’ll tell you why, no President wants voters to see empty store shelves at WalMart, Target or a host of other big-box stores in an election year.
However, the US has 14 confirmed cases as of Thursday morning, according to the CDC. These cases are mostly in the quarantine facility in San Diego for citizens recently evacuated from China.
Needless to say this is just the beginning of a potential global health and economic nightmare that will have dramatic impact on the US presidential election. It may be just a blip on the radar now, but by April it will be bordering on catastrophe, unless the world comes together to eradicate this “super virus” now.