Coronavirus Updates: Dangerous Disease Now Called COVID-19; Death Toll Exceeds 1,100

Coronavirus Updates: Dangerous Disease Now Called COVID-19; Death Toll Exceeds 1,100


The World Health Organization on Tuesday proposed an official name for the illness caused by the new coronavirus: COVID-19. The acronym stands for coronavirus disease 2019, as the illness was first detected toward the end of last year.

The director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that the new name makes no reference to any of the people, places or animals associated with the coronavirus. The goal was to avoid stigma.

Under international guidelines, the W.H.O. “had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease,” he said on Twitter.

The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic is continuing to climb, Chinese officials said on Wednesday. Nationwide, 97 new deaths and 2,015 new cases emerged in the previous 24 hours, the national health authorities said.

The death toll from the coronavirus reached a new high on Wednesday even as Chinese officials said the rate of new infections showed signs of slowing.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

Nationwide, 97 new deaths and 2,015 new cases emerged in the previous 24 hours, the national health authorities said.

Tuesday’s newly confirmed infections represented the lowest in a single day since Jan. 30, when there were 1,982 new confirmed cases.

The new figures brought the total number of deaths in China to at least 1,113. And the total number of confirmed cases rose to 44,653. Most of the newly reported deaths, 94, occurred in Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak.

There are 393 COVID-19 cases outside China, in 24 countries.

The coronavirus has jumped from ship to shore, Japan’s health ministry said Wednesday, after an employee of the country’s health ministry tested positive for the illness after surveying passengers aboard a cruise ship being held under quarantine in the port of Yokohama.

Additionally, another 39 of the more than 3,600 crew and passengers have also tested positive, bringing the total number of cases to 175.

The ship, known as the Diamond Princess, has been under quarantine for a week, after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was diagnosed with coronavirus.

Japanese authorities have been slowly moving those diagnosed with the illness off the ship and to hospitals. But on board, many passengers are complaining of lack of information and access to necessary medicines.

Reporting and research was contributed by Amber Wang, Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Yiwei Wang, Claire Fu, Amy Qin, Sui-Lee Wee, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Matt Phillips.



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