China reports 2nd death from virus behind pneumonia outbreak
A second person has died from a new coronavirus that has caused an outbreak of pneumonia in central China, health authorities said.
A 69-year-old man surnamed Xiong fell ill with the respiratory condition on Dec. 31, according to a statement late on Jan. 16 from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. He died on Jan. 15.
Xiong exhibited abnormal renal function, severe impairment in multiple organs, inflammation of the heart muscle and other pressing conditions when he was admitted to the hospital. It was not clear from the commission's statement whether these were preexisting issues or consequences of the viral pneumonia.
In total, 41 people in Wuhan have been diagnosed with a novel coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause both the common cold and more severe diseases like SARS and MERS. As of late on Jan. 16, 12 patients have been cured and discharged and five were being treated for acute conditions.
Xiong's is the second death associated with the outbreak. On Jan. 12, a 61-year-old man who had abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease died.
Authorities have tracked more than 700 people who were in close contact with infected patients. Among them, no related cases have been found. However, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission has not ruled out limited human-to-human transmission, revealing a woman may have contracted the virus from her husband.
The Chinese government is keen to avoid a repeat of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. The SARS epidemic began in southern China in late 2002, then spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people.
Most of the coronavirus patients this time either worked at or visited a particular seafood market in Wuhan. The market has since been shut...