Many people are wondering if the coronavirus epidemic that recently erupted in China, with more than 4,500 infected and over a hundred killed so far, could be another SARS. A SARS outbreak in China in 2002 infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774. The pandemic eventually spread to more than 30 countries and caused between $30 and $100 billion in economic damage globally, and an estimated drop of one percent GDP in China.
There are many similarities between the coronavirus and the SARS virus. The coronavirus shares at least 70 percent of genetic material and similar transmission routes with SARS, and it causes similar clinical symptoms. Both can be spread between animals and humans. Like the SARS pandemic, reporting of the initial cases of coronavirus was flawed. Before cases were identified outside mainland China, Chinese health officials prematurely asserted that there was no human-to-human transmission and suppressed case reports for days...
The remainder of this commentary is available at berggruen.org.
Jennifer Huang Bouey is an epidemiologist and senior policy researcher and Tang Chair in China policy studies at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.
This commentary originally appeared on The World Post on January 28, 2020. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.