The death toll from the coronavirus sweeping across China and surging around the globe passed 1,000 Monday amid warnings that the 43,099 known cases may be “the tip of the iceberg.”
Chinese health officials said 103 more deaths were reported Monday, putting the death toll at 1,016. All but two of the deaths have occurred on the Chinese mainland, most in and around the city of Wuhan.
The mortality rate of the virus also inched upwards Monday, going from 2.2 percent to 2.4 percent. Coronavirus is still significantly less deadlier in terms of mortality rate, as the SARS epidemic of 2002 resulted in a 9.6 percent fatality rate.
More than 40,000 of the known infections are in China. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, warned that the numbers may not tell the entire story.
“There’ve been some concerning instances of … spread from people with no travel history to China,” Tedros said. “The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries. In short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”
Containment remains the objective, but all nations must prepare for an outbreak, he said.
A WHO advance team led by Bruce Aylward, a Canadian epidemiologist and emergencies expert, was scheduled to arrive in China on Monday to review that nation’s efforts to curb the outbreak. WHO declared a global emergency almost two weeks ago.
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