Wuhan virus growth rates are mounting; stay prepared
It was reported on Jan. 26 that there were around 2,000 people sick with the Wuhan virus, and 56 people dead. Eight days earlier, the number was 200. This represents a daily growth rate of 38%, doubling around every two days. The next day, the reports were 2,744 sick and 80 dead, continuing this growth rate.
It was reported that the first symptoms of this virus were observed on Dec. 8. If there was only one person on that date, the growth rate until Jan. 26 (to 2,000) would be 17% per day, doubling every four days. Maybe the virus has evolved to grow faster in recent weeks.
A simple mortality ratio of 80/2,744 is 2.9%. However, this number would not be correct since it does not include additional deaths from the 2,744 who are sick. The actual mortality rate may be around 10%, considering recent growth rates.
The SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus had a mortality rate of 10%. Fortunately, the SARS virus spread only after the symptoms were evident. This Wuhan virus can spread before symptoms show. This makes it far more difficult to control.
I tend to be a contrarian during times of fear. During one virus outbreak in Asia, we went to Tokyo Disneyland, which we enjoyed greatly since hardly anyone was there.
However, this time, the news really does look scary. The Wuhan virus may be just as dangerous as the Spanish flu, which killed around 50 million people in 1918-1919. However, a modern epidemic should be less deadly due to our defenses such as the internet, face masks, new vaccines, etc.
A positive factor for us is that the Wuhan virus is a type of flu. Flu season is winter. The flu does not spread as well in a warm and humid climate like Hawaii. Still, take every precaution. Get lots of sleep. Stay hydrated. Eat well. Take vitamins. If it comes here, we should consider wearing masks and gloves and avoiding crowds.
Watch the growth rate carefully. Hopefully, precautions around the world will slow the growth rate of this deadly virus.
Mark Beeksma, Koloa