"Coronaviruses" by CDC/Dr. Fred Murphy / Public Domain

China coronavirus latest: How quickly does the virus spread?

Jan 27, 2020

By Nature

Scientists are increasingly concerned about a new virus that has infected thousands of people and can be deadly. The virus is a coronavirus, from the family that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. It causes a respiratory illness, can spread from person to person and emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

Here’s the latest news on the outbreak.

27 January 13:30 GMT — Scientists estimate how quickly virus spreads

As the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus climbs into the thousands, scientists around the world are estimating how infectious the virus is between people — and trying to determine whether those without symptoms can spread it.

One number that epidemiologists want to know is how many people a person with the virus tends to infect — known as R0 or R-naught. An R0 higher than 1 means that countermeasures, such as quarantine, will be needed to contain spread.

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