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The bad news: The official death toll in China from coronavirus has risen to 132 with 5,974 cases confirmed of people infected with the virus. The number of patients infected now exceeds that in the SARS pandemic of 2002-2003. The death toll, thankfully, is much lower than the 800 fatalities in that event. The Wuhan coronavirus is, so far, living up to its characterization of more infectious than SARS (having mutated earlier to human hosts) but less fatal. Continuing in the bad news vein, these numbers from China indicate that, again, so far, the quarantine measures imposed by the Chinese government have failed to contain the virus.

The good news (and I grant you it’s tiny): This morning Australian scientists announced that they have become the first scientists outside of China to replicate the coronavirus in a lab. The results will be shared with laboratories outside China. And that will radically increase the number or researchers working on the virus and running trials on the effectiveness of any new vaccines.

In other news the World Health Organization” emergency committee will meet again on Thursday, the third time in a week, to evaluate whether the new coronavirus spreading from China constitutes an international emergency. New countries, Finland today, for example, continue to report their first cases