China’s New COVID-19 Outbreak Suggests The Virus Has Changed & Could Be Worse

Just when there is news that vaccines could be made available by 2021, coronavirus decides to bites back even deadlier than before.

You know how your mum refuses to buy you your favourite toy when you were young so you throw a tantrum?

Yeah, that’s probably what this virus is doing right now.

China’s New COVID-19 Outbreak Suggests The Virus Has Changed

Chinese doctors witnessed that coronavirus manifest differently among patients in its new cluster of cases in the north-east region, compared to the original outbreak in Wuhan.

This suggests that the pathogen may be evolving in unknown ways, which makes it harder to stamp it out.

According to Dr Qiu Haibo, one of China’s top critical care doctors, he found that patients in the northern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang appear to carry the virus for a longer period of time.

It even takes longer to recover.

On Tuesday (19 May), he stated that cases in the north-east also appear to be taking longer than the one to two weeks observed in Wuhan to develop symptoms after the infection.

If it even develops symptoms in the first place, that is.

This delay makes it difficult for authorities to catch cases before they spread. As a result, it created clusters of family infections, as these infected patients showed no symptoms.

There have been 46 cases reported over the past two weeks. This resurgence of infection has been spread across three cities: Shulan, Jilin city and Shengyang.

Could It Be Worse?

With regards to whether the virus is evolving, Chinese doctors are reasoning that perhaps its because they were able to observe patients more thoroughly and from an earlier stage now, as compared to Wuhan, when it was, well, chaotic back then.

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However, the findings signified that the uncertainty over how the virus manifests will obstruct the Government’s efforts to curb its spread, because we all need data to come out with policies.

Rsearchers are still ascertaining if the virus is mutating in a way to become more contagious. However, early research suggests that this possibility is too over the top.

Differences Between Patients From New and Old Cluster

According to Dr Qiu, patients in the north-east cluster seem to have damage mostly in their lungs, while patients in Wuhan suffered multi-organ damage across the heart, kidney and gut.

Among the north-east cluster, only 10% have turned critical, while 26 are hospitalised.

In addition, genetic sequencing has shown a match between the north-east cases and Russian linked ones. This means that the new cluster originated from contact with arrivals from Russia, which is now the third-worst hit country in the world behind the US and Brazil.

To combat this new cluster, the north-east provinces have ordered a return of lockdown measures. This includes stopping train services, closing schools and sealing off residential compounds.

Just when these residents thought the worst was over, here comes the lockdown again.

Image: giphy.com

Dr Wu Anhua, a senior infectious disease doctor, stated on state television on Tuesday (19 May), that there is a possibility the epidemic will last for a long time.

Oh, well, that we know.


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