W.H.O. declares Wuhan coronavirus global emergency

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/30/who-declares-global-emergency.html


Well so much for what little RL social life I had.


Meh. human contact is over rated.


The speed that they came to this conclusion is nothing short of amazing.

[note sadly the sarcasm]


There are bonuses to being a relative hermit.


Yes, and working three floors beneath the street.


I got an email from the CEO pointing out our office shares space with a language school that teaches English to people from Mainland China and to wash hands when going in the shared bathroom. (We are in Pasadena)

Welp, working from home now. (At least I can)


remember, children are disease vectors – stay away from them if you can!


Well, it’s in a sense good news that this declaration has been made – although it probably should have happened a week or more ago.

I remain cautiously optimistic that this will be brought under control, and we may even learn something useful for the future about how to limit these sorts of outbreaks much more quickly.

So far, this virus appears to be killing 2-3% of those infected, at least based on currently-reported numbers. We don’t know if a greater percentage of those who have the virus will succumb in the coming days and weeks, pushing that percentage up. As is usually the case with these viruses, it looks like the old and infirm represent the majority of the deaths, people who are much more threatened by pneumonia than the general population.

None of this is good, but some of the posts I see about this virus seem like people assume “this is the disease that’s going to wipe out humanity.” It doesn’t appear that this is the case, although if the spread is not stemmed, obviously millions could theoretically perish. Again, that strikes me as highly unlikely.

This all said from my non-expert perspective, of course.


You’re likely as good if not better than the people calling the shots.

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My new fursona during this crisis: Intel Bunny.


Have you tried reclusing, yet ?


Just swish some coconut oil in your mouth for a little while and you’ll be fine.


That sarcasm is perhaps a bit uncalled for. Google trends - FWIW - identifies “coronavirus” first being searched for on 17 Jan - less than 2 weeks ago. To date there are still only ~8,000 global cases, and a handful of deaths. Compare that with of millions of flu cases and tens of thousands of deaths every year … which is never described as a global emergency. If the WHO responded to every new virus as a crisis they’d quickly cry-wolf themselves into irrelevance.

Note: I’m not saying that coronavirus isn’t or won’t be a crisis, or that they shouldn’t have called it as such. I am saying that criticising an astonishingly quick response as lackadaisical isn’t really justified.


The two you refer to are not equal, in any way or form. The WHO, much like any GOV entity meant to protect the health of the general public move far too slow to contain global medical issues, google / research it, the missed opportunities to contain are numerous.

BTW: I work indirectly with the health department as a third party blind test for pathogens & bacteria food borne illnesses, I may have little insight considering and lots of sad sarcasm to share.


Correct - the annual flu outbreaks are objectively much worse. But - like road fatalities - we just kind of ignore them as a “normal” part of the background noise of daily life.

You no doubt do.

You aren’t the only one in that position, and argumentum ab auctoritate isn’t the only perspective.

I respect your point of view, I don’t agree with it. Have a good day.

Just for reference, confirmed and suspected in China now exceed 20K.

Total reported coronavirus cases in China (as of 1.17am Fri Jan 31)

8,163 confirmed
12,167 suspected
136 recovered
171 deaths
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I’m not an epidemiologist, but personally my concern is the rate of mortality, which appears to be much higher than the conventional flu. From what I understand, containing it in the epidemic phase before it becomes a pandemic could save tens of millions of lives. In light of that I support health organizations deploying as many resources as feasible and soon as possible. Whether they could have done so sooner I leave up to the experts, but if so then hopefully this won’t become a pandemic and hopefully the takeaway lesson for the decision makers won’t be that they don’t have to move ASAP next time. I agree that panicking is counterproductive, but equating this to seasonal flu seems to elide the mortality rate. YMMV.


I wonder if the death rates will go up significantly once we have so many people infected that we won’t have enough ventilators or medical personnel to treat them.