- February 10, 2020
Useful context from Science Magazine about the global efforts to find out how virulent the new coronavirus is. If the virus goes undetected in large sections of the population, that makes it harder to track and treat it in time, causing a wider spread of the disease.
Influenza viruses and pandemics have been with us for centuries and when combined with pneumonia have a huge effect. It is too early to predict how dangerous this virus can become globally. Epidemiologists, virologists and immunologists are working together around the world to model the spread and create a vaccine to prevent and drugs to inhibit its impact. Flu viruses come from a group of viruses named orthomyxoviruses. Coronaviruses have been with us for a long time, and many cause common cold like symptoms. There are also two other serious coronavirus strains which are zoonotic meaning they have originally spread from animals to humans.
A picture is forming of this new coronavirus, about its seasonality, geographical origins, how it spreads, the early development of the infection, animal associations, and rates of illness and death among different age-groups and this information will unfold as more becomes known.
Locally, the best advice is to keep aware of the situation and follow public health advice, but not to panic. The local authority is working closely with Public Health England and the NHS locally to monitor the situation.
Modelers are trying to forecast how the virus will move, but they need better data