Coronavirus: Autopsy shows lungs worst hit as China cases fall with 327 new infections

29-Feb-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:52 AM Print This Post

South Korea reported more new cases of coronavirus than China for a second day, with 571 infections reported on Friday.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said 317 more cases were reported on Friday afternoon in addition to 256 cases reported in the morning, taking the total number of infections in the country to 2,337.

It was the highest number of infections to be reported in South Korea in a single day, surpassing the 505 reported on Thursday.

In China, the National Health Commission said there were 327 new cases compared to 433 a day earlier of which 318 had been reported in Hubei province, as of Thursday. Hubei’s capital Wuhan continued to bear the brunt of the epidemic, with 313 of the new infections. The number of new cases outside Hubei dropped to nine, from 24 reported a day earlier.

The commission said 44 new deaths had been reported, bringing the toll to 2,788. There has now been a total of 78,824 infections on the mainland, with 36,117 people recovering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Lungs key area of damage, autopsy finds

The lungs are the most affected by the coronavirus, with insufficient evidence of damage to other organs, according to an autopsy report on a Covid-19 fatality, an 85-year-old man who was admitted to hospital in Wuhan on January 1 and died 28 days later.

A report on the autopsy, in the February edition of China’s Journal of Forensic Medicine, said inflammatory lesions were focused on the patient’s lungs. It suggested the pathological features of the disease were similar to those caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) both of which are in the same family of viruses.

The autopsy, led by Liu Liang, a professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, found pulmonary fibrosis scarring in the lungs caused by the new coronavirus was not as serious as in Sars, but exudative inflammation when fluid filters into lesions or areas of inflammation was more obvious in Covid-19 patients.

The Chinese scientists said this may be related to the short period of 15 days between diagnosis and death, adding that more research was needed to understand the effects of Covid-19 on other organs.

California monitors thousands for infection

California health officials are monitoring more than 8,400 people amid concerns that the coronavirus is spreading among the general public for the first time in the US.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday that 33 people in the state had tested positive for the virus. Five people who tested positive have since moved out of the state. One of those who contracted the virus had no history of travel to an affected area or of contact with someone who may have been infected.

US stocks fell with the S&P 500 dropping more than 10 per cent since last Friday to enter a so-called market correction on growing fears over the spread of the coronavirus outside China. All three major US indices S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq plunged for six straight days, and are on track for their steepest weekly fall since the 2008 global financial crisis.

US reports first drug shortage related to Covid-19

The US has its first outbreak-related drug shortage, according to a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statement published on Thursday.

The manufacturer of an unnamed human medication that was recently added to the FDA drug shortages list told the agency the shortage was related to a site affected by the virus.

“The shortage is due to an issue with manufacturing of an active pharmaceutical ingredient used in the drug. It is important to note that there are other alternatives that can be used by patients,” the notice said. “We will do everything possible to mitigate the shortage.”

The FDA said it had been in touch with more than 180 makers of human medications and identified about 20 other drugs which source their active pharmaceutical ingredients or finished products solely from China. The agency said none of these firms had reported any shortage to date.

Criticism grows in Japan over virus response

There are growing concerns over efforts in Japan where the virus has been linked to at least four deaths and nearly 200 infections to diagnose potential patients. The country’s lack of a Centre for Disease Control puts virus prevention and outbreak control in the hands of bureaucrats from the health ministry, aided by a group of experts.

The government says it has the capacity to conduct 3,800 tests a day but only 5,700 tests were carried out between February 18 to 23, Japanese Health minister Katunobu Kato said on Wednesday. prime minister Shinzo Abe has come under increasing criticism for his relatively relaxed stance on the outbreak compared with South Korea, with support for him falling to around 36 per cent in a weekend poll.

On Thursday night, Abe urged schools across the country to close for around a month, though nurseries and after-school clubs are exempt. The government has also urged people to work from home and commute during off-peak hours, as well as to avoid large gatherings.

The operator of Tokyo’s two Disney resorts Disneyland and DisneySea said on Friday the parks would be closed for around two weeks due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

BTS cancels Seoul show as South Korea cases soar

With 256 new cases on Friday, South Korea’s total number of infections reached 2,022 the highest in the world outside China.

K-pop boy band BTS cancelled its scheduled April concert in Seoul amid growing concerns over the outbreak which has so far claimed 13 lives. According to the band’s label Big Hit Entertainment, the “Map of the Soul” show had been due to play at the capital’s Jamsil Olympic Stadium on April 11, 12, 18 and 19.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said 182 of the new cases were in the southeastern city of Daegu, location of a church at the centre of South Korea’s outbreak.

Iran situation worsens

Iran reported the highest number of new infections in a single day on Thursday, with one of its vice-presidents among those to fall ill, and one of the country’s most respected theologians is reported to have died from the disease.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said the 106 new cases brought the country’s tally to 245 since Iran announced its first infections on February 19. Among the latest sufferers is one of Iran’s seven vice-presidents, Masoumeh Ebtekar, who oversees women’s affairs and is the highest-ranking woman in the government.

Ebtekar was the spokeswoman for the students during the Iran hostage crisis, when a group of Iranian revolutionary college students seized the US Embassy in Tehran, taking Americans inside hostage, in November 1979.

The epidemic has cost 26 lives in Iran. According to media reports, among the deceased in Qom on Thursday was theologian Hadi Khroroshahi, who in 1981 was named Iran’s first ambassador to the Vatican.

More countries report first cases

The Netherlands, Nigeria and Lithuania are the latest to report coronavirus infections, with each announcing their first case as countries have begun stockpiling medical equipment and investors take flight, in expectation of a global recession.

A Dutch person with a travel history to the Lombardy region of Italy has become the first patient to be infected with the coronavirus in the Netherlands. The 56-year-old man is in quarantine. So far 17 people have died in Italy and 650 have been infected, in Europe’s biggest coronavirus outbreak.

“To prevent the sickness from spreading further in the Netherlands, (public health authorities)… will trace who has had close contact with the infected patient,” said the Dutch National Institute for Public Health in a statement.

In Africa, Nigeria reported its first case of the disease, the third confirmed infection on the continent, while the Lithuanian government confirmed its first patient on Friday. So far, Antarctica is the only region with no infections.

Hong Kong dog tests positive

The pet dog of a Hong Kong Covid-19 patient has tested “weak positive” for the new coronavirus.

The city’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said in a statement on Friday the dog had not shown any symptoms and there was no evidence to suggest pets could contract the coronavirus or be a source of infection in people.

It said more tests would be conducted to confirm if the dog had really been infected with the virus or if there had been environmental contamination of its mouth and nose.

A department spokesman said infected patients were strongly advised to put their mammalian pets under quarantine to ensure public and animal health.


Category: China

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