As the world has been plunged into hysteria over the emerging coronavirus crisis, my mantra has been: don’t panic.
There’s no doubt that the virus is a significant problem, and it’s potential to spread is disturbingly great. But the one bright spot so far has been the relatively low mortality rate of the disease – lower than SARS, and even lower than some variants of the common flu.
But breaking news out of China is deeply concerning on that front. According to an exclusive report from Taiwan News:
It’s possible to get infected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a second time, according to doctors on the frontline in China’s city of Wuhan, leading to death from heart failure in some cases.
According to the message forwarded to Taiwan News, “It’s highly possible to get infected a second time. A few people recovered from the first time by their own immune system, but the meds they use are damaging their heart tissue, and when they get it the second time, the antibody doesn’t help but makes it worse, and they die a sudden death from heart failure.”
That’s majorly concerning. With many viruses, immunity generated by a non-lethal case is protective. This may not be the case with coronavirus, if reports are to be believed.
Worse yet, it appears that the tests used to detect it aren’t all that accurate, and the long incubation period is likely to make the virus a worldwide phenomenon.
The source also said the virus has “outsmarted all of us,” as it can hide symptoms for up to 24 days. This assertion has been made independently elsewhere, with Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan (鍾南山) saying the average incubation period is three days, but it can take as little as one day and up to 24 days to develop symptoms.
Also, the source said that false negative tests for the virus are fairly common. “It can fool the test kit – there were cases that they found, the CT scan shows both lungs are fully infected but the test came back negative four times. The fifth test came back positive.”
It’s not time to panic – yet. But it’s also not smart to ignore the threat. The US should be doing everything in its power to prepare for a deadly epidemic, before it’s too late.