Live from Hong Kong
More than a month after Hong Kong reacted to the coronavirus, the overall damage of the virus is not nearly as severe as originally feared, and compared to the common flu, it is minuscule.
News of the coronavirus reached Hong Kong and the world in early January. Hong Kong citizens were curious at first and then almost hyper-reactive. The Wuhan coronavirus was a big unknown and still is. Hong Kong did very little at first other than observe the actions of the Chinese government in Hubei in response to the newly discovered coronavirus.
By the end of January right before the Chinese New Year, the government of China took the unprecedented move and shut everything down in Hubei Province in China. Road blocks were erected and people were forced to stay home in Hubei Province. After the Monday and Tuesday holidays, all businesses were shut down in Hong Kong and throughout China.
Schools were closed until the end of February in Hong Kong and the following week businesses opened but with the option to work from home. Most companies followed the Hong Kong government’s practices with civil servants and kept their employees home. This has continued throughout the month of February and schools in Hong Kong next announced they would be closed till mid-March and then until April 20th.
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas on earth with a population of around 8 million. As of this morning there are 94 coronavirus cases confirmed and two deaths in Hong Kong. The percent of confirmed cases to total population is minuscule at 0.001%. Deaths as a percent of the population are basically nil at 2 deaths in 8 million.
China has a population of around 1.4 billion. The number of coronavirus confirmed cases stands at 79,251 with around 2,700 confirmed deaths. The percent of confirmed cases to the population is also minuscule at 0.0056%. Deaths as a percent of the population are basically nil. These numbers are based on reported cases which may or may not be accurate.
The US has reported 64 confirmed cases to date of the coronavirus and no fatalities. With 350 million Americans the number of confirmed cases is also at amounts almost nil with no deaths.
Since the beginning of the year the flu in Hong Kong has been much more consequential than the coronavirus:
The Centre for Health Protection announced today that the winter flu season has ended. During this period, 113 adults died of influenza and no deaths from children were recorded. The Centre reminds the public that although the winter flu peak period has ended, citizens should continue to maintain personal and environmental hygiene to prevent respiratory diseases.
We know that the flu kills thousands in the US each year:
So far, the new coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, has led to more than 75,000 illnesses and 2,000 deaths, primarily in mainland China. But that’s nothing compared with the flu, also called influenza. In the U.S. alone, the flu has already caused an estimated 26 million illnesses, 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).