A panel of Yale experts did their best to explain the current threat and future direction of the novel coronavirus epidemic during a forum Thursday hosted by the Yale School of Public Health. But they frequently cautioned the standing-room-only crowd that there is much about the mysterious illness that simply remains unknown.
Preliminary indications are that the virus is not as contagious as measles, is comparable in many ways to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, that resulted in 774 deaths worldwide in 2003) and is worse than the flu. But even these assessments could change as new data emerges, said moderator, Dr. Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health and Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.
“You shouldn’t be walking around in a spacesuit on College Street, it’s reasonable to say that,” Dr. Omer told the gathering of some 120 students and faculty in Winslow Auditorium. “On the other hand, we don’t know the future risks of this outbreak.”
More than 30,000 people have been sickened since the virus first appeared last December and more than 600 people have died. The respiratory illness has appeared in 28 countries but is most prevalent in China. While patients with the virus have been reported in the United States, there have been no reported infections in Connecticut.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on February 14