When coronavirus is both work and worry

Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 19:30 in Health & Medicine

When the news first surfaced in December of a flulike outbreak in China, a lot of us here at Science News felt our spidey senses tingle. China has sparked earlier outbreaks of diseases that travel from animals to people, notably SARS, which emerged from a live-animal market in 2002 and killed 774 people worldwide. I covered that outbreak, and it was scary. The virus spread easily, had about a 10 percent fatality rate and overwhelmed hospitals trying to quell it. SARS, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome, was ultimately stopped by rigorous infection control and quarantines — classic public health responses. So far this new coronavirus appears to have a lower case fatality rate than SARS but is harder to intercept, because in most cases the symptoms are milder, raising the odds that people infected with the virus, called SARS-CoV-2, can spread disease without even realizing that they are ill. That may be the case with an Episcopalian reverend in Washington, D.C., who...

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