How deadly is the Coronavirus?

On December 31st of 2019, the World Health Organization was informed by Chinese officials of what appeared to be a pneumonia outbreak in the densely populated city of Wuhan. By January 9th, the cause of the reported symptoms was determined to be a new strain of coronavirus, and two days later, the first fatality was reported.

Fearing a new plague is a human tradition as old as the first plague, and concerns about a worldwide pandemic are dancing like sugarplum fairies through the heads of America's hypochondriacs as the first stateside case of the virus, now referred to as the Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, was reported in Everett, Washington on January 21st. But just how deadly is this new disease?

The unfortunate fact is that we just don't know yet. As of January 23rd, there have been 571 cases of the Novel Coronavirus reported, according to a situation report from the World Health Organization. Of the 571 cases, 95 patients are considered severely ill, and there have been 17 fatalities.

Corona virus: Find your bleach

What's currently known is that authorities are responding to the virus with caution. While world leaders have stopped short of declaring it a global health emergency, there are quarantines and travel restrictions in effect. The Chinese government has shut down the Wuhan fish market believed to have been the epicenter of the outbreak. Additionally, the United States, China, and South Korea are among a growing number of countries performing mandatory entry screenings at international airports. China has also locked down 13 cities in an attempt to stem transmission.

Despite all of this, according to The Guardian, the Novel Coronavirus continues to spread, having now been confirmed in eight countries. As always, the best course of action if you're concerned about infection is to stay inside, cover yourself in Purel, and whisper-scream that everything is going to be okay.