Coronavirus source, severity still unknown
Almaty. February 7. KazTAG -World Health Organization officials on Thursday warned that there are still many unknowns about the coronavirus, which has killed at least 565 people and infected over 28,000 more, reports the US News.
"We need to bring this virus out into the light so we can attack it properly," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, said at a press conference.
WHO officials said they don't know the source of the virus and that a treatment doesn't yet exist, despite some reports claiming otherwise. They also don't fully understand how severe it is or how it is transmitted.
Those most at-risk for the virus are older populations with underlying health problems. As a person's age increases, so does his or her risk for death from the virus, according to WHO.
The organization announced a conference next week with international scientists to identify research priorities.
Officials also expressed remorse over the death of Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old Chinese doctor who was one of the first to raise concerns about the disease.
"We are very sad to hear of the loss of Dr. Li Wenliang," said Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO's health emergencies program. "We are very sorry to hear of the loss of any frontline worker who's attempted to care for patients."
Wenliang caught the coronavirus after working with patients who had a flu-like disease he said reminded him of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. He was targeted by Chinese police for "sharing false information" after he posted about the cases on social media in December.
WHO officials could not say when to expect coronavirus case numbers to taper off.
"We are still in the middle of an intense outbreak, and we need to be very careful on making any predictions," Ryan said.
However, he noted that the number of new cases overnight is fewer than the day before. He said it doesn't necessarily mean something, but at least the numbers aren't going in the wrong direction.
"It's nothing to celebrate," Ryan said. "It's certainly still a great worry."
Photo source: picture from an open source