Coronavirus in Wuhan, China may become seasonal illness like the flu

White House considers ban on China flights amid coronavirus outbreak


It was a new virus that killed 12,469 and sickened more than 60 million Americans in one year.

The 2009 outbreak introduced a new strain of H1N1 flu that never left. Though it continues to circle the globe as a seasonal virus, the swine flu causes far less damage and anxiety than its deadly first year. 

Today, doctors and researchers see parallels between that pandemic and the threat of a new mysterious bug, the novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV.

The pace of the new viral threat, first reported Dec. 31 from Wuhan, China, is breathtaking: 28,344 cases and 565 deaths as of Thursday. The outbreak, which sees more cases reported by the hour, is so far largely contained to mainland China; only 349 cases have been reported elsewhere, including 12 in the U.S. and just two deaths in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Government and public health officials are desperately trying to slow the spread of the respiratory virus with robust screening, quarantines and travel bans. As infectious disease doctors and scientists track the new threat, they are studying past outbreaks to determine what the new coronavirus will do next.


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