09 Feb 2020
Coronavirus kills over 800; death toll surpasses SARS
The number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak has surpassed global fatalities in the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic.
As per the latest figures, the death toll now stands at 811 in mainland China, excluding one death in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines.
89 new deaths reported; 2,656 more infected
Most of the new fatalities took place in the Hubei province—home to the city of Wuhan, where the virus originated.
Further, 2,656 new cases of coronavirus were also reported from the previous 24 hours on Sunday, a drop from the 3,399 new cases reported on Saturday.
SARS epidemic killed 774 people globally
However, with the latest fatalities taking the death toll to 811 in mainland China, coronavirus deaths have surpassed the global deaths in the SARS outbreak.
2019-nCoV's genetic cousin, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) had killed 774 people worldwide—mostly in mainland China and Hong Kong—and infected 8,098.
At 2-3%, coronavirus notably has a lower death rate than SARS, which had a death rate of 9.6%.
Latest data indicates outbreak stabilizing: WHO
The World Health Organization on Saturday observed that the latest data from the past four days indicated that the outbreak is "stabilizing."
However, the health body cautioned that it was still "very early to make any predictions" and the figures could possibly "shoot up."
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also warned against fake news spread by trolls on the coronavirus outbreak.
False health advice, fake videos widely shared
Since the outbreak's emergence, videos of people eating bat soup have been widely shared, blaming Chinese eating habits for the spread of the virus. Notably, the videos were not even filmed in China and feature a popular travel blogger Mengyun Wang in the island country of Palau.
People have also been sharing false health advice and misinformation about the scale of the viral outbreak.
What is the coronavirus outbreak?
The ongoing coronavirus outbreak involves a new strain, called the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has since spread to around 25 countries.
Over 37,547 people worldwide have been infected with the virus, with over 37,000 sickened in mainland China alone.
The virus causes flu-like symptoms, and in severe cases, may result in death.
'Misinformation on coronavirus most contagious thing about it'
Dr. Tedros said, "At the WHO we're not just battling the virus, we're also battling the trolls and conspiracy theories that undermine our response." He added, "As a Guardian [newspaper] headline says today, 'Misinformation on the coronavirus might be the most contagious thing about it.'"