Yes, I understood that aspect, but not the relevance. Productivity isn’t a measure of human worth.


From the standpoint of health economics and public health the difference is important. Productive lives lost have far greater costs to society, and the benefits of prevention are higher. Infections that ocurr at the end of a normal lifespan could be considered normal or natural. Death of a healthy individual in an accident is not really.

Sounds cold, is not meant to be. Wandering off topic too!


Yes, probably best left there.


Published death toll now close to 1000. I wonder how much economical impact this flu will have.

After all this, Chinese government needs to lock down on wet animal market. It’s disgusting!

Two recorded deaths outside of the Mainland; one in Hong Kong and the other in the Philippines.

I must admit to having some doubt regarding the mortality rates being issued which have been consistently in the 2.0 to 2.2% range of those (unfortunately) infected. The graph below from ‘Worldometers’ shows virtually no scatter or deviation from the best line fit/graph. Notwithstanding that, panic has set in and in Hong Kong the spread of the virus is as much a political issue as it is a major health one.

To ‘those affected’.


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Disgusting maybe, but I wonder whether there are ethnic prejudices and political manipulation at play here in general (not your post). Considering the long incubation period, how can there be such certainty that the unregulated wet animal market was the source of the virus?

Bats were a previous source and Camels for MERS.


Well, visit a market in France. I guess it is not so much different.

Not really - I think anything around the subject is of interest, and relevant at least in some ways.

The Chinese government seems always to want to lay blame on so e specific person or persons, rather than accept problems may have a wider basis, or, worse, be identifiable as related to its policies or practices. I suspect that is the case in this instance, too.


Just seen this on BBC news website:

“It is estimated that 1% of people infected with the new coronavirus may die, according to a report by the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling.”

If that proves to be the case, then it will be well below the 9.6% mortality rate for SARS in 2003. Of course that’s no comfort at all to those who have already lost relations and friends to the virus. Government offices in HK remain closed for another week; all schools are closed until early March (at the very least) while many employees have been told to work at home. The best we can hope for is containment of the spread of the virus (both here and overseas), an early Spring bringing warmer weather and that the health system isn’t overwhelmed in the meantime.

So given it appears to be highly infectious the likelihood of it affecting a major proportion of the population is high.

So if endemic in the UK that’s potentially 3-600,000 deaths…

Google that: it seems conjecture for the former and links for the latter could not be clearly established with most transmission being nosocomial (in hospitals).

We have no idea of the percentage of the population that could be infected if the disease becomes uncontrolled, and the mortality rate is speculative too because we don’t actually know how many are infected. Some may well currently be undiagnosed as they only have minor or no symptoms at all. So those estimates are wildly speculative.

In western populations influenza has a mortality rate of about 1%, although years vary according to the virulence of prevalent strains, vaccine take up and efficacy etc

I agree Bruce - we certainly don’t have the precise data to give accurate estimates - which means that it isn’t yet possible to conclude that we can be relaxed about the potential consequences of Wuhan coronavirus and, conceivably, a significant number of deaths could yet result.

NHS says “ SARS originated in China in 2002. It’s thought that a strain of the coronavirus usually only found in small mammals mutated, enabling it to infect humans.”
Wikipedia “ In late 2017, Chinese scientists traced the virus through the intermediary of civets to cave-dwelling horseshoe bats in Yunnan province.[4]

MERS-CoV is a betacoronavirus derived from bats.[2] Camels have been shown to have antibodies to MERS-CoV but the exact source of infection in camels has not been identified.“


On MERS, Wikpedia has little to say.

On SARS, the Wikipedia entry is questionable (although even there we have “it is thought”) and so is the Guardian article. The scientific research is on the web and much more cautious about the route of transmission and development. For example:

"They found that the new strains, plus several identified earlier from the same cave, had all the essential building blocks of the human SARS virus. For some, the S-gene segment was highly similar to the segment of the human virus strain.

Genetic recombination between precursor strains could have produced the newly identified strains, one of which might be a direct ancestor of the human SARS virus, the team hypothesized." Animal Origins of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus: Insight from ACE2-S-Protein Interactions

Note the “could”, “highly similar”, “might” and “hypothesized”.

Why am I insisting on this? Because in our eagerness for some peace of mind in tracing the source and “othering” the threat we can end up simply being racist. Many have assumed that human Camel and Bat consumption is “to blame”. Incidents of racism against Asian nationals have considerably increased in the UK in recent days. As reported by The Guardian:

Chinese in UK report ‘shocking’ levels of racism after coronavirus outbreak Asian community faces verbal and physical abuse in aftermath of first recorded cases of virus in Britain

Yes - and that is before the virus hits here! I’ve suggested premature, but no-one listens…