COVID-19 has hit China again in a new and frightening cluster of cases that has experts worried that the virus already has mutated.
A top Chinese doctor says patients with COVID-19 in northeastern China are taking longer to recover than their counterparts in the city of Wuhan, were the virus first appeared. Dr. Qiu Haibo speculated that the virus already has undergone changes which may account for the extended illness and the varied symptoms he is observing in current cases.
According to Fox News, patients in the northeastern cities of Jilin City, Shulan, and Shengyang, suffer from mostly lung damage and not the heart, kidney, and stomach ailments the COVID-19 sufferers in Wuhan presented.
Chinese researchers from Zhejiang University revealed last month that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 already had mutated genetically 30 times, making one vaccine less likely to be effective, said the study authors.
Haibo said that the longer period in which the patients are ill has led to a rash of family infections that sparked renewed lockdowns over a region of 100 million people, according to Bloomberg. While China has one of the best systems of detecting and testing for COVID-19, the new cluster has hindered the country’s efforts to reopen its economy.
Transit services, schools and residential compounds have been locked down to try and contain the outbreak in the northeastern provinces that already has sickened over 68,000 people.
“People should not assume the peak has passed or let down their guard,” Wu Anhua, a senior infectious disease doctor said, according to Bloomberg. “It’s totally possible that the epidemic will last for a long time.”
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