…from the NY Times….
As a dangerous new coronavirus has ravaged China and spread throughout the rest of the world, the outbreak’s toll has sown fear and anxiety. Nearly 3,000 deaths. More than 81,000 cases. Six continents infected.
But government officials and medical experts, in their warnings about the epidemic, have also sounded a note of reassurance: Though the virus can be deadly, the vast majority of those infected so far have only mild symptoms and make full recoveries.
It is an important factor to understand, medical experts said, both to avoid an unnecessary global panic and to get a clear picture of the likelihood of transmission.
“Many people are now panicking, and some actually are exaggerating the risks,” said Dr. Jin Dongyan, a virology expert at the University of Hong Kong. “For governments, for public health professionals — they also have to deal with these, because these will also be harmful.”
Much about the virus remains unknown, and the danger could intensify as it travels through the rest of the world. But based on existing information, here’s what experts say about the severity of the virus.
More than 80 percent of cases are mild, one large study in China found.
Of the 44,672 coronavirus cases that were confirmed in China by Feb. 11, more than 36,000 — or 81 percent — were mild, according to a study published recently by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cases were considered mild if they did not involve pneumonia, defined as infection of the lungs, or involved only mild pneumonia, the authors wrote in the study, which is among the largest to date of the new coronavirus.
There were two other categories of cases, severe and critical. Severe cases featured shortness of breath, low blood oxygen saturation or other lung problems. Critical cases featured respiratory failure, septic shock or multiple organ dysfunction.
Just under 14 percent of patients were severe, and just under 5 percent critical.
The overall fatality rate in China was 2.3 percent. But that number was inflated by the much higher fatality rate in Hubei Province, of 2.9 percent, compared with a rate of just 0.4 percent in the rest of the country. The seasonal flu, by comparison, has a mortality rate of about 0.1 percent….