By AFP Staff
The novel coronavirus, also known as covid-19, continues to spread, with new mysterious cases popping up that seemingly have no connection to China. Some health experts contend that many more people are already infected around the world than is officially being reported. They postulate that it may be due to the virus’s long incubation period and lack of adequate testing.
Internet news agency “BNO News” tracks the spread of the virus in real time as official ccounts are now announced. According to their record, there have been 82,586 confirmed cases worldwide so far and 2,811 fatalities. Italy continues to see growing numbers of infected as do Iran, and Taiwan. In the case of Taiwan, nearly 600 children tested positive for covid-19 after returning to school from a holiday break. Italian health officials are reporting 75 new cases of coronavirus and 2 new deaths, bringing that country’s total number of infected to 528 and 14 deaths.
BREAKING: Italy confirms 75 new cases of coronavirus and 2 new deaths; total of 528 cases and 14 deaths https://t.co/eUoE2bjB9j
— BNO Newsroom (@BNODesk) February 27, 2020
Of course, these are only official counts.
An medical doctor at the Masih Daneshvari hospital in Tehran, Iran, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke to a reporter from Time magazine.
“We think that this virus has been in Iran for the past three to four weeks and has circulated throughout the country,” he said. “Right now in Iran we are facing a coronavirus epidemic.”
Another doctor interviewed by Time agreed that the virus had arrived in Iran far earlier than officials admitted.
“In the past couple of weeks there were quite a few patients, mainly elderly, with suspicious symptoms who would test negative for influenza, some of whom have died,” said the doctor. “Naturally we thought it might be corona but had no testing kit to properly test for [it].”
He said the first testing kits did not come to Iran until last week.
“The kits were not available for sale to us earlier, and we bought the first batch from Germany as soon as they were available,” he said.
While cases have been reported in countries surrounding Iran, no one really knows why that country has been hit so hard. It could be that there are just as many infected in neighboring countries, but Iran has better medical facilities to test for covid-19. Iran has also had a higher mortality rate than other countries with nearly 10% of those infected succumbing to it.
So far, officially, Iran has had 245 cases and 26 deaths. As AFP reported earlier this week, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Haririchi, who is leading the country’s response to the outbreak, said he recently tested positive for it. Along with Haririchi, As well as Haririchi, Member of Parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi , a local administrator from Tehran, and the head of Qom’s medical university, Dr. Mohammad Reza Ghadir.
Qom, located in the north of Iran, appears to have been hit the hardest. One official from there said he estimated as many as 50 people have died from covid-19 in the city, but that rumor was quickly shot down by Tehran.
Health experts still do not know why covid-19 is that much more contagious than other similar viruses. They suspect it has something to do with how it has mutated to make it more efficient in infecting humans. While covid-19 share 96% of its genes with a common virus found in bats, it somehow evolved, allowing it to jump species and infect people.
The good news is, China may be getting a handle on the infections. Chinese health officials reported on Feb. 27 that they had more people recovering than new infections, and, if you’re young and healthy, the odds are very good you will survive this pandemic