The Cassandra Complex: In the science fiction film, 12 Monkeys, time-traveler James Cole warned a group of doctors that a outbreak of deadly virus would kill billions in the year 1997, but they thought he was crazy. Global deaths are now: 3,038
Europe: New coronavirus infections spiked dramatically across Europe on Sunday, with Italy reporting hundreds of new cases and five more deaths. The number of confirmed cases also jumped in France, Germany and the UK, and the Czech Republic reported its first case. As the disease continued its rapid spread and governments introduced emergency measures to halt the progress of the escalating epidemic, outbreaks worsened in Iran and South Korea. The US also reported two new infections, one in Chicago and another in Rhode Island, marking the eastern state’s first case.
Italy said confirmed infections had risen 40% in 24 hours to 1,576, with the death toll now at 34. In Germany the number of people infected had almost doubled to 129 on Sunday, while France’s total stood at 100 – up from 38 on Friday – nine of them in a serious condition. Iran meanwhile raised its death toll from 43 to 54 as its number of confirmed infections rose by more than half to 978, amid continuing concerns that official figures still do not reflect the full scale of the outbreak there. –The Guardian
Iran: The outbreak of the new coronavirus is spreading across Iran with the number of infectious cases approaching 1,000. Iran’s health ministry announced on Sunday that the number of patients surged by 385 in one day to 978. Fatalities also increased by 11 to 54, the highest number outside China. Iran’s state-run news agency says coronavirus infections have been reported in 27 out of the country’s 31 provinces. It says 350 people have been infected in the hardest-hit province of Tehran, including the capital. That’s the largest number of cases in the country and more than one-third of its overall figure. The Iranian government has ordered the cancellation of large-scale Friday services at mosques across the country. Iran’s health minister Saeed Namaki on Sunday called on the people not to hold mass gatherings or go out unless absolutely necessary. –NHK
The tip of the iceberg: A “boom” of confirmed cases of the coronavirus that has killed almost 3,000 people around the world could already be racing across the U.S. despite ramped-up efforts to contain the outbreak, experts say. The spread of the virus by “community transmissions is an indication that we could indeed be looking at the tip of the iceberg,” Ogbonnaya Omenka, an assistant professor and public health specialist at Butler University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, told USA TODAY on Sunday. Though fewer than 80 U.S. cases have been confirmed thus far, including a handful in Washington state, a researcher there estimates that “a few hundred” people in the state could actually be infected.
Bedford studied two cases that were confirmed weeks apart and determined they were linked through community transmission – from a source not directly connected to another known case. Bedford tweeted his belief that the virus has been spreading undetected, at least in Washington state, for six weeks. Omenka says that doesn’t bode well for efforts to contain the virus nationwide. One of the chief challenges with dealing with community transmission is contact tracing, which may prove difficult because of constant human movements and interactions, Omenka said.
“There are some enormous implications here,” Trevor Bedford, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, posted on Twitter. “I believe we’re facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now. Nevertheless, the possibility of a wider spread of the COVID-19 in the U.S. is very likely now, based on recent developments,” he said. –USA Today