Infected 31,526         Deaths 638         Recovered 1,764         John Hopkins CSSE

Assuming that these official statistics from China bear a faint connection to reality (in trend, if not number) this may be a sign that the draconian quarantine is starting to work. If real, it is only a slight slowing in the rate of growth, but it’s a good sign — one I been looking for. It is a barely visible slowing of the rate of change in the cumulative tally of victims. The exponential curve is slowing. Of course, if this takes off in Africa this would be but a pause…

Graph by Worldometers.info

The virus which had been growing at 50% a day two weeks ago, slowed to 20% last week, and 11% today. One week was such a long time ago in exponential land. Last Friday night the tally was 9,700 infected, and 213 deaths. At that point, no nation had cut off flights or refused visa’s.

Corona Virus cases, Worldometer. Graph.

..

Sadly the brave doctor who tried to warn the world has been taken by the virus. Ominously he was only 34 — presumably with no “underlying disease”. Instead of listening to him, the Communist Govt tried to silence him.  consequently, there is anger and outrage in China and his death may become a lightning rod. The Party has created so much unnecessary pain and suffering.

Outside of China the news was as good as we could hope — everywhere bar the hapless Diamond Princess Cruise Liner in Japan but with a sudden 61 recorded infections. Apart from that — what matters most (selfishly) is that we are not seeing  a pattern of doubling in the West. This is significant as we approach a point 6 days after flights were closed in Australia. Though there is potentially a 14 day incubation, the average is around 6 days. Thus in theory, if the virus had made it to the first world and was sufficiently infectious, we should already be seeing half the first “uptick”. Instead most of the small number of new cases are immediate family members of people who flew in from China, usually from Wuhan. We know 5 of Australia’s 15 cases have been sent home apparently fully recovered and uninfectious.

No news is not necessarily good news — Indonesia has no cases, but apparently hasn’t done any testing either:

There is growing concern that the new coronavirus may be going undetected in Indonesia, where officials have not confirmed a single case of infection among the 272 million-strong population despite the country’s close links to China, reports Rebecca Ratcliffe, the Guardian’s south-east Asia correspondent. As of Thursday, Indonesia said it had no confirmed cases of the coronavirus and that 238 people evacuated from Wuhan.   The Australian.

The “virus ship” is now a must-see experiment. (Apologies to those involved).

The Diamond Princess now has the dubious honor of being the highest ranking country outside of China in the infection stakes. It has it’s own special category: The top three nations are China (31,213) Other (61) and Singapore (30).

Details are scarce, only that the latest Australian diagnosed says she feels fine, and that 21 of the latest batch that tested positive, are Japanese. The Australian was on the same bus as the 80 year old man who got off the ship in Hong Kong carrying the virus. When figuring out viral behaviour, all these forensic details are important at this early stage. Epidemiologists will be tracking the boat closely.

We all want to know the health status of the 61 (hoping they are well), and to trace the path of infection. Was it only one source or were there others from the Hubei province? Were the 61 mostly close contacts or is this spreading at random through air conditioning or door knobs. Is the cabin air finely filtered?

If these were my relatives on board, I’d be asking the government for assurance that they were not at risk of acquiring a new infection now. If so, a fully fledged quarantine flight rescue would seem humane.

In other news: Hong Kong is going to jail people who breach quarantine and come in from China. This may get ugly if things don’t improve in China. They may find themselves in a locked up for six months in Hong Kong, which still may be better than being locked in a demountable pop up hospital back in China.

A short video from the same two guys, this time talking about the censorship in china (12 minutes).

This article originally appeared at JoNova

Author

  • A prize-winning science graduate in molecular biology. She has given keynotes about the medical revolution, gene technology and aging at conferences. She hosted a children’s TV series on Channel Nine, and has done over 200 radio interviews, many on the Australian ABC. She was formerly an associate lecturer in Science Communication at the ANU. She’s author of The Skeptics Handbook which has been translated into 15 languages. Each day 5,000 people read joannenova.com.au