Black Swan: an unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme or very ominous consequences.
Deadly virus appears unstoppable: The director of a Chinese hospital at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak became one of its victims Tuesday despite “all-out” efforts to save his life, Chinese health officials said. The death came the same day Chinese officials released data indicating the new virus could be 20 times more lethal than the flu. Liu Zhiming, president of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital in Hubei province, died of coronavirus-related pneumonia, China Daily reported. The hospital, one of the seven designated for the epidemic in Wuhan, treated thousands of people a day.
Liu, 51, was a leading figure in neurosurgery, the newspaper said. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said Liu made “important contributions in the work of fighting and controlling” the virus, known as COVID-19. “Unfortunately, he became infected and passed away at 10:54 Tuesday morning after all-out efforts to save him failed,” the commission said.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention put the overall death rate for the virus at 2.3%. The season’s flu death rate in the U.S. thus far is about 0.1%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, the coronavirus death rate is far below that of severe acute respiratory syndrome – SARS – a coronavirus that swept across China almost two decades ago. The SARS death rate was almost 10%, although fewer than 10,000 SARS cases were ever confirmed.
The Middle East respiratory syndrome is even more lethal: Since 2012, about 2,500 MERS cases in 27 countries have killed more than 850 people, or about one in three of those infected. Michael Ryan, emergency programs director for the World Health Organization, said Tuesday that the new virus death rate could turn out to be lower than it appears. In the first weeks of the outbreak only severe cases were recognized, he noted. “Now we are going out and looking for less-sick people,” Ryan said. “Our hope is that as we find more and more milder cases, that the overall mortality rate will be less.” The Chinese study also found that more than 80% of the cases have been mild, the sick and elderly are most at risk, and men are more likely to die than women. The report suggests the outbreak peaked in late January. –USA Today
However, the reality is the COVID-19 virus’ explosive spread is continuing across the globe at an alarming rate. Indian cruise ship passenger pleads to get off the infected cruise shipped docked off the coast of Japan.