Since a new type of coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China, last December, the number of people infected worldwide has soared to over 44,000, and the death toll now exceeds 1,100.
The virus is spreading across Asia – including to Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia – and also to countries in Europe and North America, although only one death has been reported outside China so far.
It remains to be seen how lethal this new virus ultimately will be. At the moment, it is certainly less severe than the 2002-03 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic, caused by a different coronavirus.
The new bug has killed more people, but SARS was deadlier, killing almost 10% of the 8,096 people worldwide known to