Concern is growing as cases of coronavirus continue to show up in countries around the world. As of Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared a global public health emergency, making it the sixth in the past decade. The virus has so far taken the lives of 171 people, all of them in China, with more than 8,200 confirmed cases of infection in 18 countries, according to the latest report from NBC News.
During such times, false information — whether posted by accident or with intent — can take hold very quickly via social media and other means, creating confusion for those looking for reliable data. Aiming to provide accurate information on the spread of the coronavirus, the Maryland-based Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins has created an online tool that brings together data from several official bodies that include WHO and centers for disease control and prevention in China, the U.S., and Europe.
The dashboard displays the number of confirmed and suspected cases of the coronavirus, as well as the number of deaths and those who have recovered. A world map marks the locations of the outbreaks.
“The dashboard is intended to provide the public with an understanding of the outbreak situation as it unfolds, with transparent data sources,” the CSSE said in a message posted on its website. Of course, the true number of cases is impossible to know, but the dashboard at least offers reliable data for reported cases and can indicate trends and hotspots for the coronavirus.
A screenshot of the Coronavirus tracker from the Maryland-based Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins as of Tuesday, Jan. 28.
Fear that the virus may be harder to contain than first thought emerged on Sunday after China’s National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei said that it was possible for someone to transmit the coronavirus during the incubation period, which can last up to 14 days.
Xiaowei also revealed that around five million people left Wuhan — the Chinese city where the outbreak was first detected — before the city was locked down by the government last week, with around nine million staying put. The WHO was first informed of the outbreak on December 31, 2019, when the Chinese authorities described it as “pneumonia of unknown cause.” Since then the country and the world have been roiled by fears; with more than 1,000 Americans still stuck in Wuhan, the government is locking down more than 15 cities in its efforts to stop travel and contain the virus, CBS reports.
The U.S. has so far reported five non-fatal cases of the coronavirus, though all are thought to have caught it while traveling in China.
A risk assessment posted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday, January 26 described the immediate health risk from the coronavirus to the American public as “low at this time,” adding, “Nevertheless, CDC is taking proactive preparedness precautions.”