A video of a Chinese woman eating a bat in its entirety at a high-end restaurant has gone viral after it is believed they are the source of the coronavirus. There are other videos of Cantonese chefs preparing bat soup.
Emerging in Wuhan, central China, last month the disease has already taken the lives of at least 17 people with more than 590 cases of infection. The city is on complete lockdown according to the Daily Mail.
There is little known about the new strain of virus, other than that it causes pneumonia. Scientists believe it might have spread from snakes or bats to humans.
Coronavirus is linked to the same virus that led to the SARS epidemic in 2003 and leading Chinese virologists fear that this new deadly strain of coronavirus could lead to an outbreak 10 times worse than the previous one.
China has locked down its third city in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. The major Lunar New Year events that had been planned for Beijing have been cancelled. Train stations have been shut down in Ezhou. In Huanggang, public schools, trains, cinemas and internet cafes have all been temporarily closed down. All flights have been cancelled in Wuhan and citizens are banned from leaving which has caused panic and people to fight over food supplies.
With almost 600 patients currently infected with the disease, officials predict that at least as many as 10,000 more could be undiagnosed in Wuhan alone. Experts say no virus has spread this quickly since SARS.
Chinese officials are showering the streets with gas in hopes of disinfecting entire streets at a time and roadside quarantine tents are leaving many residents in great fear of what is to come. One resident described the feeling of the city as ‘the end of the world’ in a recent BBC interview.
The coronavirus has left China as well due to travellers who’ve landed in the U.K. and the U.S. One man landed in Washington state from China and was infected with the virus but was not diagnosed until Monday, five days after he returned from China. He is said to have had close contact with at least 16 people within that time period. He is now been quarantined. The main fear is that the virus will mutate and become even deadlier.
An increasing amount of pressure is being placed on the World Health Organization to declare the coronavirus as a public health emergency crisis such as Ebola or Zika were in the past. Wuhan’s Health Commission has reported the city is full of patients with a high fever and that hospital beds are in short supply.
British government ministers have issued a shutdown on flights from Wuhan and are effectively quarantining any passengers entering the country from China. One professor warned that the death rate from coronavirus holds a semblance to the 1918 pandemic of Spanish Flu which took the lives of more than 50 million people.
What data is known thus far about the coronavirus suggests that one in fifty people who contract it will die.