Novel coronavirus’ death rate going down – WHO

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 4) – The case fatality rate of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is “going down,” the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

WHO representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe noted that the 2019-nCoV’s death rate fell to about 2 percent, during a Senate hearing on the government's preparations in addressing the 2019-nCoV outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The WHO previously said that the death rate was slightly higher -- at 2.3 percent.

As of Tuesday, a total of 427 people have been reported to have died after getting infected with the virus, with two of the deaths reported outside of China. 

“We are testing the people who are less severely affected, who have mild symptoms,” he added.

The WHO representative said that 88 percent of the 427 deaths were over 60 years old. The most affected gender was male, comprising 76 percent of the overall deaths. Abeyasinghe also said that 70 percent of the fatalities had underlying diseases.

The number of deaths from the 2019-nCov has overtaken that from the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in China in 2002, which was 349 deaths, CNN reported.

On Saturday, a 44-year-old Chinese man who visited the Philippines died from health complications after he caught the new virus, making him the first reported 2019-nCoV related fatality outside of mainland China. The second death outside the world’s most populous country was recorded in Hong Kong, one of China’s special administrative regions, bringing the official global death toll to 427 as of Tuesday morning.


While the 2019-nCoV’s death rate was going down, the cases are “rapidly increasing,” adding that the virus spread remains a health risk globally, Abeyasinghe said.

The official said that 48.7 percent of the 2019-nCoV cases affect individuals aged 40 to 64 years old, and added that the second most affected age group is over 65 year-old.

Of the overall cases, 64 percent have been males. About 40 percent of the cases had underlying disease such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, the WHO representative said.

On the other hand, 2019-nCoV afflictions have soared to more than 20,400, according to WHO data on Tuesday, an increase of 3,235 from the previous day, CNN reported, adding that it translates to a 18-percent jump. More than 185 cases have been reported in over 25 countries and territories, CNN said in a report Tuesday.

In the Philippines, there are 80 people being investigated by the Department of Health; of which, 30 people tested negative for coronavirus, 67 are currently admitted in hospitals and isolated, and 10 are discharged but remained to be under monitoring. The three remaining PUIs are the two confirmed 2019-nCoV cases and the 29-year-old man from Yunnan, China, who died from pneumonia at the San Lazaro Hospital on January 29.

On January 31, WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

WHO defines such a situation as “an extraordinary event” which entails a “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” a potential requirement for a “coordinated international response.”

Many countries, including the US, Australia and the Philippines, are temporarily preventing foreign nationals from China to enter their countries and cross their borders on suspicion that they may be carriers of the new virus, which was first detected in Wuhan City in late December, 2019.

WHO said that they are not recommending travel restrictions, but that proposal is not “binding,” Abeyasinghe said.