Saturday, February 08, 2020

Push Your Sheeple Mind to Track the Competing nCoV Propaganda Schemes

vox |  We’re at a pivotal moment in the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China. Depending on whom you ask, we’re either already in a pandemic, meaning there are ongoing epidemics of the virus on two or more continents; we’re hurtling toward one; or we’re on the path to averting a spiraling crisis. 

As of February 6, more than 28,000 people have been infected with 2019-nCoV, as the respiratory virus is known, and 565 people have died. There are also nearly 200 cases in 26 countries besides China, including one death in the Philippines. This toll represents a tragic and stunning increase from a month ago, when it looked like there were no more than 50 patients with the virus in Wuhan, the mainland Chinese city where the virus is thought to have originated. 

There’s still so much we don’t know about 2019-nCoV, including how exactly it’s transmitted, where it’s spreading, and how deadly it is. And that uncertainty is important because viruses have funny ways of surprising us: H1N1 “swine flu,” which was a pandemic, turned out to be much less deadly than feared. (A disease can be pandemic and not particularly severe.) Ebola, meanwhile, was known to science for decades and then behaved in ways that caught infectious disease experts off guard during the 2014-2016 epidemic in West Africa.

Given the unknowns about 2019-nCoV, in the coming days and weeks, we’re in for some twists and turns. For now, many experts believe this outbreak could get a lot worse: burdening the Chinese health system, spreading in poorer countries with weaker health systems, and sickening and killing thousands more people along the way. Alternatively, it could get much better, with new cases and deaths steadily dropping. Here are the key factors that will determine which way it goes.