• New research based on data gathered from 1,099 2019-nCoV patients from 552 hospitals in 31 provincial-level regions in China found that the incubation period of the new coronavirus was as long as 24 days, though the median was three days.
The median age of patients was 47 years and 58.1% were men, according the findings, which have not yet been peer-reviewed but were posted Sunday on the medical research archive medRxiv. Only 1.18% of patients had been in direct contact with wildlife, whereas 31.3% had been to Wuhan and 71.8% had been in contact with someone from Wuhan. The study was co-authored by at least three dozen researchers from Chinese hospitals and medical universities.
• Aerosol transmission of the coronavirus can happen only under “certain special situations,” a health expert said in National Health Commission media briefing Sunday. This is an apparent attempt to calm the public after warnings from Shanghai’s health experts Saturday that aerosol transmission could be a risk, fueling public fears of infection.
The researcher, Feng Luzhao, from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said aerosol transmission is more likely in a clinical context, for example when a doctor applies a breathing tube to a patient’s trachea. Feng said the most common transmission channel is through droplets on a surface. This can be combated through good hand hygiene and wearing face masks.
• Compared with SARS, the new virus often causes minor symptoms at the beginning but is more contagious and can cause infected people to deteriorate faster. The disease usually takes three weeks to escalate to critical condition, medical experts told Caixin.
As of Jan. 26, about 60 of the Red Cross Hospital’s medical workers had either been diagnosed with the coronavirus or were under observation. The rest of the staff, no matter from which department, were transferred to the respiratory department after a short training. They were “like cannon fodder” rushing to a battlefield, Huang Xiaobo, ICU director at the Sichuan People’s Hospital said.
Delayed treatment allows many mild patients to deteriorate and miss the best opportunity to recover, Jiang Li, ICU director at Beijing Xuanwu Hospital said. It is believed to be the major reason that Wuhan has recorded a much higher than average mortality rate than the rest of the country.
• China’s ability to control the coronavirus epidemic is under further strain amid fears that a key test used to confirm new cases is failing to catch large numbers of people with the disease.
Problems with nucleic acid tests (NATs) widely used to identify the presence of the pneumonia-causing virus make it likely that many infections are going uncounted even as the number of confirmed cases continues to spiral.