New coronavirus looks set to cause a pandemic – how do we control it?


By Debora MacKenzie

The new coronavirus, as imaged by an electron microscopeZhu et al/NEJM © 2020, Massachusetts Medical SocietyThe new coronavirus may be about to go global. Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Gabriel Leung at the University of Hong Kong said that without “substantial, draconian measures limiting population mobility” – even greater than the unprecedented transportation shutdown that China has already imposed – epidemics outside China “may become inevitable”.
It could be too late. Leung and other epidemiologists calculate that there are far more cases in China than doctors have diagnosed, and by next week there may be 200,000. Computer models suggest that, as with flu, Ebola and SARS, travel restrictions may have little impact.
One epidemiologist, however, thinks there may be hope in the variable way the virus is thought to spread, based on its close…



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