What Scientists Say About The Coronavirus

A review of two recent studies

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Coronavirus image via New Scientist

We Don’t Know The Source Yet

It was widely reported that ground zero was a seafood (and wildlife) market in Wuhan. That likely isn’t true. Both studies found patients who had no exposure to this market.

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Figure 1: Date of illness onset of patients with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection
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It Seems To Hit The Lungs

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There May Be Asymptomatic Cases

The Hong Kong study is really the story of a family. It shows how this just happened to them. The Shenzen-based family took a trip to Wunan. One person visited a sick relative in hospital, and they all stayed with relatives. They started getting fever and diarrhea in Wuhan but didn’t go to the doctor until back home.


The many authors of both studies obviously have experience with SARS and, to a lesser extent, MERS. This informs a lot of their comments.

What Does This Mean For Me?

What the reports don’t comment on is the key question, which is will I get it? It seems that if you’re not handling wild animals or in Wuhan (or, God forbid, both) you’re still at low risk. However, in this age of nearly constant travel, the novel coronavirus has already spread across the globe, albeit in low numbers.

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Real-time spread of the virus from Johns Hopkins CSSE

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He/him. indi@indi.ca

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