February 1 coronavirus news

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1:46 p.m. ET, February 4, 2020

There could be many times more coronavirus cases in Wuhan than reported, researchers say

An estimated 75,815 people could be infected with the coronavirus in Wuhan, China -- far higher than reported numbers, said Hong Kong researchers in a study published Friday.

Using mathematical models, the authors estimated that the number of people affected in Wuhan ranges from 37,304 to 130,330.

The estimates could be much higher than the number of confirmed cases because "not everyone who is infected would require or seek medical attention," said Gabriel Leung, one of the authors of the study.

It could also be higher because of a delay between when someone gets infected, when they show symptoms, and when a lab is able to confirm results.

The study cautioned that "given the lack of a robust and detailed timeline of records of suspected, probable, and confirmed cases and close contacts, the true size of the epidemic and its pandemic potential remains unclear."

Correction: A previous version of this post contained a map that misattributed the source of provincial coronavirus case totals. The data comes from each province’s health authority, not China’s National Health Commission.

8:44 p.m. ET, January 31, 2020

Here's what you need to know

Tourists wearing face masks in Istanbul on January 31, 2020.
Tourists wearing face masks in Istanbul on January 31, 2020. YASIN AKGUL/AFP via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Now, it has killed at least 259 people, all in China, and infected close to 12,000 globally. Here's what is happening:

  • Accelerating spread: There are more than 140 cases confirmed outside of China across nearly 20 countries and territories, spanning North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Some of these cases are people who haven't visited China -- indicating human-to-human transmission.
  • China under lockdown: Nearly 60 million people are under full or partial lockdown in various Chinese cities in an attempt to contain the spread. Shops are closed, the hospitals are full, and the streets are eerily empty.
  • Travel restrictions: Many countries are advising citizens not to travel to China. Some governments and airlines have suspended flights to mainland China entirely or to select cities.
  • Global response: Multiple countries, including the US, UK, Japan, and South Korea have sent planes to evacuate their citizens in Wuhan. International scientists are racing to develop a vaccine, as authorities struggle to contain the disease.