2nd Coronavirus Case In BC Confirmed, But Risk Likely Still Remains Low

Coronavirus In BC - Facts And What We Don't Know

BC health officials have confirmed a second case of the coronavirus after the first case was confirmed a week ago on January 28th.

Yesterday, in a joint statement, Adrian Dix, the BC Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said “We want to reassure people that the risk of this virus spreading within British Columbia remains low at this time.”

A second confirmed case likely will not change that.

As of Friday, January 31st, health officials in BC have tested 114 people for the Wuhan Coronavirus officially referred to as “2019-nCoV.” They will continue to do so and publicize results.

Despite lowering the bar for virus confirmation, few tests have come back confirming infections.

“In B.C., we have chosen testing criteria with an intentionally low threshold to purposely ensure a wide range of people are eligible for novel coronavirus testing.”

A daily situation report published by the World Health Organization on February 4th confirmed 4 cases of the coronavirus in Canada. This second case in BC will bring that number to 5.

With the coronavirus dominating news cycles around the world, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify what is fact and what is speculation (or straight misinformation).

Here’s what we know for sure, and what we aren’t quite sure about just yet.

Wuhan Coronavirus: Facts

  • Clinical profiles of the virus have confirmed that the virus can spread via both direct contact (with oral secretions) and indirect contact (via objects/surfaces carrying droplets, aka fomites).
  • Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC.
  • The genome structure of the 2019-nCov has been identified and confirmed by numerous experts, which can be viewed, here.
  • Possible vaccines for the coronavirus are in the process of being developed, according to CNN.
  • Scientists are conducting and publishing research about the coronavirus at an unprecedented rate, thanks to advancements in technology since previous virus outbreaks.

Wuhan Coronavirus: Yet To Be Confirmed

  • The source of the virus was likely a bat that came into contact with another animal. The bat-half has all been confirmed, but the other animal has yet to be identified.
  • The time between contraction of the virus and symptoms manifesting, aka the incubation period, has yet to be firmly identified. Currently, the CDC believes it’s anywhere from 2 to 14 days.
  • The viability of certain preventative measures remains to be seen. Face masks likely do not make things worse (although they could possibly increase fear), but frequent hand-washing is still one of the most-recommended precautionary measure, according to the World Heath Organization.
  • The R0 (pronounced “r-nought”), a number that captures the average number of people that will be infected by an already-infected individual, aka basic reproduction number. Studies have identified numbers ranging from 2 to 5, which would put it on par with that of SARS and significantly less than Measles, which has an R0 over 10.
  • While the number of confirmed cases is rising, the mortality rate appears to be decreasing.

At times like these it’s important to arm yourself with the facts. Social order crumbles when fear takes over a society. Fear can bring out the worst in people. As noted on the poster for Steven Soderbergh’s scientifically-accurate virus outbreak movie Contagion, “nothing spreads like fear.” It’s a virus of its own. At the moment in British Columbia, however, it appears that there really isn’t too much to fear for now.

For more Metro Vancouver news, stay tuned to 604 Now News.

The Coronavirus In BC

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