What we’re reading: As 2019-nCoV toll surpasses that of SARS, what we know, what we’re learning, and what we need to know

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Coronavirus — Unknown Source, Unrecognized Spread, and Pandemic Potential – If the continued spread of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV across China and to a growing number of countries worldwide continues on its current trajectory, its arrival and then spread in African countries  could carry devastating impacts there far beyond those of the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola crisis, the authors of this piece in  Think Global Health note, Examining the currently known transmission dynamics of a novel coronavirus Dr. Daniel Lucey, with Kirsten Kent elaborate on findings supporting Dr. Lucey’s hypothesis first laid out in a Jan. 25 Science Speaks post, that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus started before December 2019, and at one or more locations beyond the live animal and seafood market that was the subject of early reports on the origins of the spread of the infection. The path so far indicates, they note, that human-to-human transmission began and continued earlier than noticed, fueling the speed of the outbreak. In countries without ready and robust surveillance, screening, diagnostic capacities, the consequences of that spread will be catastrophic — and are still preventable, with action “today,” the authors write.

Coronavirus — Everything You Need to Know in a Visual Explainer – Covering the timelines, maps, and transmission patterns of the ongoing spread of 2019-nCoV, as well as precautions and policies, the images here provide a quick and comprehensive tutorial on the dynamics of this outbreak, even as day-to-day data accelerate needs for wider public understanding of a growing crisis.

Origin and Evolution of the 2019 Coronavirus – Wild animals and mammals sold at the now-closed seafood market in Wuhan were likely “intermediate hosts” of the coronavirus now infecting more than 40,000 people across China and in a growing number of countries worldwide, the authors of this letter to Clinical Infectious Diseases note. Measures to strengthen surveillance, and monitoring of animals that could carry the virus from the wild to an urban market place are urgent, they note. 


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