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Highest fatalities from coronavirus recorded in a single day due to new classifications

Published on 13/02/20 at 11:21am

The coronavirus outbreak reached its deadliest day since it began in December.

Roughly 242 deaths have been reported in Hubei province on Wednesday. This is partly due to the region starting to use a broader definition to diagnose people, but this is only being used in Hubei so far.

This new definition includes those showing symptoms, and having a CT scan showing an infected lung, rather than relying only on the standard nucleic acid tests. Of the new 242 deaths, 135 of these clinically diagnosed cases.

Until this increase the number of people with the virus in Hubei was stabilizing. It has pushed the death toll up to over 1,350 and there are over 60,000 infections in total.

Professor David Heymann, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “What has happened in China is that they have changed the definition of what the disease really is - now they are taking people who have lesser symptoms.

"The deaths are quite worrisome, there are an increased number of deaths reported, but if you look overall at the total number of deaths and the total number of cases, the fatality ratio is about the same as it has been - but it is still high, as high as the death rate in influenza."

The epidemic shows no sign of slowing down. The World Health Organization says its too early to predict when it will end. Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme said: “This outbreak could still go in any direction. I think it’s way too early to try to predict the beginning, the middle or the end of this epidemic right now. I think we will find a vaccine," she said. "It will take some time. A vaccine cannot be made overnight.”

Conor Kavanagh


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