Coronavirus Live Updates: China Changes Diagnosis Criteria, Resulting in Confusion – The New York Times,

Coronavirus Live Updates: China Changes Diagnosis Criteria, Resulting in Confusion – The New York Times,

The way China counts confirmed cases of the virus changed for the second time in a week, muddling the data, confusing scientists and resulting in a drop in new infections.

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Japan said two passengers who had been aboard a quarantined cruise ship have died.

Doctors who have recovered from the Covid – 31 coronavirus infection donating plasma in Wuhan, China, on Tuesday . Credit … gence France-Presse – Getty Images
China again alters the methodology for counting coronavirus cases, as death toll rises to 2, For the second time in over a week, China on Thursday changed its criteria for confirming coronavirus cases, throwing into confusion the methodology that the country at the heart of the outbreak uses to track transmissions and resulting in a dramatic decrease in new infections.

The new criteria exclude patients from Hubei Province, the hardest-hit area of ​​the outbreak, who are diagnosed using clinical methods, including CT scans and an assessment of symptoms. Instead, patients there would be counted as having contracted the virus only when confirmed by a specialized nucleic acid test.

Using the new criteria, officials in the province on Thursday recorded new cases in the previous (hours, bringing the total national figures to) , . New deaths rose by 176 on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 2, 180.

In its sixth iteration of a diagnosis regime, the government said it would differiate between “suspected” and “confirmed” cases from now on . Cases would only be considered confirmed after genetic testing.

Such tests are notoriously difficult to conduct and the results are often wrong. It takes at least two days to process the results of the test.

The change has caused confusion among public health experts, who said it is now extra difficult to track the outbreak in China.

“For an epidemiologist, it’s really frustrating when case definitions keep on changing,” said

Last week, the government switched to counting cases based on diagnoses made in clinical settings, including scanning patients’ lungs, in an effort to more quickly isolate and treat patients.






Updated Feb. 19,


                                                       What is a Coronavirus? It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.                                                                                                                                                         

  • How contagious is the virus? According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, (similar to SARS) , and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.                                                                                                                                                          Where has the virus spread? The virus originated in Wuhan, China, and has sickened tens of thousands of people in China and at least two dozen other countries .                                                                                                                                                         
  • How worried should I be? While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China
    remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.                                                                                                                                                          Who is working to contain the virus?

    World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. (arrived in Beijing to offer assistance
    .                                                                                                                                                          What if I’m traveling?
    airlines have canceled flights

  • How do I keep myself and others safe? Washing your hands Frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.                                                                                                                                                    




    As a result, however, the country may have overcounted cases because lung scans are an imperfect means to diagnose patients. Even patients with ordinary seasonal flu may develop pneumonia visible on a lung scan. Japan records deaths of two passengers who had been aboard a quarantined cruise ship.


    Two passengers from the cruise ship quarantined in Japan have died after contracting the new coronavirus, the first deaths among the more than People on board who have been infected, a Japanese health ministry official said on Thursday.

    The two people, both Japanese, were an 114 – year-old man and an 118 – year-old woman, the Japanese broadcaster NHK reported. They were taken to hospitals on Feb. and 20, and both had underlying health issues, the broadcaster said. No other information about them was immediately available.

    Hundreds of passengers have begun disembarking from the ship, the Diamond Princess, after Japan declared the two-week quarantine over, even as cases of the virus on the vessel have continued to rise.

    The authorities have said they are releasing only people who have tested negative for the virus and are showing no symptoms. But experts on infectious diseases have pointed to deficiencies in the quarantine protocols on the ship and questioned the decision to let them go free.

    (South Korea reported a jump in cases linked to a church. (

    South Korea reported (additional cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the country total number of patients infected to .

    The number of people who have tested positive for the virus in South Korea has increased sharply in the past couple of days, with members of a church in Daegu, miles southeast of Seoul, the capital, confirmed to have been infected.

    All but one of the new patients were residents of Daegu or the surrounding province of North Gyeongsang, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. Twenty-three of them were members of the church.

    A 84 – year-old South Korean woman in Daegu was diagnosed with the virus earlier this week. Since then, health officials have been tracking down people who may have come in contact with her before she was quarantined, including members of her church. She had visited the church four times in the past two weeks, officials said.

    The woman has not visited China in recent months, and officials were still trying to find out how she contracted the virus. The woman’s church has stopped services, and the authorities were monitoring all 1, Members who had visited the church while she was there in the past two weeks. They were also investigating a hospital near Daegu that the woman visited in early February.

    A -year-old man from Washington State who

    Since his discharge from the hospital about three weeks ago, the man has remained at home and in isolation at the request of local health officials. He was supplied with groceries, and on Valentine’s Day was given a cupcake.

    But after consulting with state and federal officials, the Snohomish Health District connected that it was safe to release him from all restrictions .

    “He is now considered fully recovered and free to go about his regular activities,” Snohomish officials said in a statement. “We cannot thank him enough for his patience and cooperation throughout the entire process.”

    The man tested positive for the virus after returning to his home in Snohomish County, Wash., After visiting family in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. He was admitted to an isolation unit at Providence Regional Medical Center, where his condition worsened before improving.

    Nine days after his symptoms started, an X-ray revealed pneumonia, according to a description of his case published in the New England Journal of Medicine . He received an experimental antiviral drug called remdesivir on a compassionate basis, which the Food and Drug Administration allows for drugs not yet federally approved.

    Chinese banks are lowering interest rates to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus.


    China’s banks are lowering borrowing costs for companies and households in a move to try to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus.

    The move follows a series of policies enacted by China’s central bank to shore up an economy hobbled by weeks of a near-nationwide shutdown of businesses. On Thursday, the People’s Bank of China said it lowered the one-year loan prime rate from 4. percent to 4 . percent, and slashed the five-year loan rate to 4. 87 percent from 4.8 percent.

    Dozens of business owners have complained about China’s efforts to contain the virus by locking down dozens of cities. The move grounded to a halt the daily activity of local businesses – including small shops and large factories.

    Economists are lowering their growth expectations for China this year as businesses are only just haltingly beginning to get back to work. Some said the move on Thursday would do little to address the widespread impact of the epidemic on China’s business community.

    One-third of small firms in China are on the brink of running out of cash over the next four weeks under the current situation, according to a survey by Peking University and Tsinghua University of 1, 10 business owners. Another third will run out of cash in the next two months. Many of these firms have already laid off employees.

    The “rate cuts alone will provide limited relief to the millions of small private firms that are suffering the most from the epidemic and are poorly served by formal banking, ”said Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics. US-China relations were already fraying. The outbreak has damaged them further.

    The coronavirus epidemic has become the latest and potentially most divisive issue driving apart the United States and China . For the fiercest critics of China within the Trump administration, panic over the coronavirus has provided a new opening to denounce the rule of the Communist Party, which they say cannot be trusted.

    But the hard-liners’ message has been undermined at times by President Trump, who has publicly commended President Xi Jinping’s handling of the crisis and even called for greater commercial ties, including the sale of jet engines to China .

    “Look, ” Mr. Trump said on Tuesday, “I know this: President Xi loves the people of China, he loves his country, and he’s doing a very good job with a very, very tough situation.”

    It has become a staple of the Trump administration: sending mixed messages that reflect a good-cop-bad-cop tactic, a real internal disagreement over policy or simply the caprice of the president. But over all, the most hawkish voices on China have dominated the conversation, lashing out at Beijing as it reels from one challenge after another – a trade war with Washington, protests in Hong Kong and now the struggle to contain the coronavirus.

    Mr. Trump’s conciliatory comments this week might be an effort to defuse tensions and keep the U.S. economy humming as he faces re-election. That approach is backed by a pro-trade faction led by Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, which advocates close ties between the world’s two largest economies.

    Whether it is because of the assertiveness of the hard-liners, the ambiguities fueled by the competing messages or Beijing’s policies, the the relationship between the United States and China has become so strained and unpredictable that even the need for a united effort to address a global health crisis has not overcome the suspicions that have increasingly taken root on both sides.

    Reporting and research was contributed by Choe Sang-Hun, Alexandra Stevenson, Russell Goldman, Sui-Lee Wee, Steven Lee Myers, Elaine Yu, Tiffany May, Edward Wong , Makiko Inoue and Eim i Yamamitsu.

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