Why are scientists so concerned about new coronavirus?

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(Gray News) – The numbers from the coronavirus outbreak seem daunting, with more than 82,000 confirmed cases and a death toll topping 2,800.

Fears about the virus, officially known as COVID-19, have changed global travel patterns.

Many of the world’s airlines have suspended flights to and from China and millions of Chinese are under travel restrictions within their own borders due to the outbreak.

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” A day later, the United States issued a public health emergency for the virus that originated in China’s Wuhan province.

Still, the global numbers for COVID-19 pale in comparison to America’s seasonal flu outbreak, which has hit children and young adults especially hard.

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” A day later, the United States issued a public health emergency for the virus that originated in China’s Wuhan province.

Still, the global numbers for COVID-19 pale in comparison to America’s seasonal flu outbreak, which has hit children and young adults especially hard.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that so far this season there have been at least 29 million flu illnesses, 280,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths from flu.

Compare that to 60 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States so far. No one has died from COVID-19 within U.S borders.

Even with the disparity in numbers, COVID-19 is dominating the headlines.

For health care officials, it’s the fear of the unknown. Scientists aren’t sure what they’re dealing with yet.

“The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully understood,” the CDC said.

But there’s one thing health officials do know, this virus is easily spread just like a cold or the flu.

That calls for caution.

Up to this point, the new coronavirus has been killing people at a much higher rate than America’s seasonal flu.

If the worldwide mortality rate for COVID-19 stays the same under the U.S. health care system, the toll could be 50-60 times higher than our influenza outbreak.

For the estimated flu cases this season, more than 980,000 people would have died compared to the 16,000 who have died from the flu.

So, it’s no wonder world health officials have made this new coronavirus a top priority.

Up to this point, only people who had traveled to China or people who were directly exposed to them were at risk of getting COVID-19, but that’s beginning change as the virus spreads in Italy and the Middle East. So far, the virus doesn’t appear to be actively spreading in the United States.

Doctors and scientists had hoped to keep the virus contained through quarantines and by limiting travel to China, but as it continues to spread that will become more difficult.

The CDC now says it’s not a matter of if, but when coronavirus begins to spread in the United States as it begins to gain new footholds in places like South Korea, Iran and Italy.

Because if the virus becomes well established in the population, it becomes much harder to control its spread.