The novel coronavirus outbreak that originated in central China’s Hubei province in late 2019 may reach its peak “in around 10 days,” according to Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan.
In an interview with China’s state news agency Xinhua, Zhong, who discovered the SARS coronavirus in 2003, said he believed that the new virus “will reach the climax and then there will be no large-scale increases.”
Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases of the virus skyrocketed by 60 per cent.
On Wednesday it was reported even to have reached China’s remote and tightly-controlled Tibet autonomous region, the last province-level division to be affected. Infections have also occurred in 18 other jurisdictions worldwide.
“The SARS outbreak lasted about six months,” Zhong said in the interview, “but I don’t believe the novel coronavirus outbreak would [sic]last that long.”
Zhong’s prediction contradicts those of other experts. A mathematical model by Gabriel Leung, dean of the prestigious University of Hong Kong’s medicine school, predicted that the outbreak would peak in April or May this year.
Remember, by all indications SARS, which killed about 10 percent of those infected, was a deadlier virus than the new coronavirus circulating now. So keep things in perspective.
Faced with SARS, many foreigners chose to leave Beijing or at least to send their children back to the United States. Our family stayed, kids included. We wanted them with us and didn’t want them to miss school, especially during what would be their final year in China. But equally important in making the decision was that the risk of getting SARS on an airplane or in the airport seemed greater than being smart and careful while staying put in Beijing.