Coronavirus Cases Explode in South Korea as China Reports more than 75,000 Infected
The spread of the coronavirus that began with cases reported in the city of Wuhan, China, has now spread to many other parts of the world with South Korea the latest nation to report increasing numbers of diagnoses as the rest of East Asia implements strict measures to contain the disease.
It is reported that some 156 people are now infected with the coronavirus in South Korea, joining Japan and Thailand as nations outside of China grappling with the disease in large numbers.
Though a specific treatment course has not yet been established, many doctors are reporting success after treating patients with a combination of “HIV drugs including lopinavir and ritonavir and the antiviral medication oseltamivir,” Pharmaceutical Technology reports.
One point of controversy for many nations combating the disease is the decision to transport potentially infected people back to their home countries for treatment and/or quarantine.
This was most recently highlighted by the scandal in the UK over the government telling British citizens to stay on the Diamond Princess cruise ship when other nations have evacuated their nationals, the BBC reports. But even that is not without controversy as it is now being reported that the United States’ own citizens that were evacuated from the Diamond Princess rode back on a plane with uninfected passengers against the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations.
Fourteen of these passengers were infected with the virus, the media is reporting, and government officials believed that they could be sectioned off with a plastic tarp and flown back with healthy passengers – a methodology that the CDC questioned. An official involved with the decision-making process behind allowing infected people to fly back with healthy passengers commented that, “It was like the worst nightmare.
Quite frankly, the alternative could have been pulling grandma out in the pouring rain, and that would have been bad, too.” The logic behind removing the passengers from the stranded cruise ship comes from the fact that the number of cases of coronavirus on the ship were going up by an alarming rate.
When asked about the situation on the Diamond Princess, WHO executive director for health emergencies Michael Ryan said, “Obviously, the situation on the ground changed, and clearly there’s been more transmission than expected on the ship. It’s very easy in retrospect to make judgments on public health decisions made at a certain point.”
CDC principal deputy director Anne Schuchat recommended against putting the passengers together on a plane and questioned the administration’s logic in ignoring her agency’s advice, MSN reports.
“CDC did weigh in on this and explicitly recommended against it. We should not be mentioned as having been consulted as it begs the question of what was our advice,” she wrote in an email.
As the virus spreads many experts are pointing out that it is likely to get worse before it gets better. With a fatality rate of 2 in 100 cases and a highly infectious spread rate, the drive to get the disease under control is expected to remain a large health focus for much of 2020.