- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2020

The Geneva-based World Health Organization on Monday gave some encouraging news about the rapidly spreading coronavirus, claiming its transmission appears to be slowing and that it does not seem as deadly as SARS.

About 2% of cases of the novel coronavirus are fatal compared to 10% of severe acute respiratory syndrome cases, said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.

More than 80% of patients infected with the respiratory illness experience mild symptoms and recover while 14% experience severe symptoms such as pneumonia, Dr. Ghebreyesus said, citing a Chinese paper published Monday that studied more than 44,000 patients.

As of Monday, more than 71,000 cases of COVID-19, the official name of the coronavirus that started in Wuhan, China, have been reported globally. About 1,770 people have died from the coronavirus, including three outside of China.

Twenty-five other countries, including the U.S., have reported close to 800 cases. The states now have 29 confirmed cases, since two charter flights dropped off 14 American evacuees from a Japanese cruise ship in California and Texas Sunday and Monday.

The coronavirus, which was first reported in December, comes from the same family of viruses as SARS and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), which can infect animals and humans.

The source of the coronavirus is unknown, although some reports point to bats as the possible culprit.

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