In a traumatic scene, video from the security camera at Wynn Macao shows a young casino worker walking rapidly one moment and then suddenly collapsing to the floor the next, seemingly unable to lift herself up. According to reports, Zhuang He, an employee of Wynn Macao had just returned to work from her home city of Wuhan.

Wynn Macao, a branch of the Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas, USA, and was the company’s first overseas casino. The stock of Wynn Resorts had already been falling in anticipation of a rerun of the SARS epidemic, but the reports circulating online will hardly help. As a discretionary spend at the best of times, the gambling tourism industry is likely to suffer heavily from the Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak.

Reports of sudden collapse having been coming in with ever greater frequency from China, and at this early stage, it would seem to be a feature of some cases of infected patients. During the Spanish flu pandemic, very similar examples of sudden collapse were recorded. According to Benjamin Yang, writing a book review of John Barry’s The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the 1918 Pandemic, sufferers would go from perfectly fine one moment to collapse the next:

Another unusual aspect of the 1918 influenza was that the virus struck its victims suddenly. Many people remembered precisely the moment that they first felt ill. Around the world people dropped from their horses or suddenly collapsed while walking. This didn’t mean that they collapsed at the moment they were infected. The incubation time of the influenza virus was about 24-72 hours compared to 2-10 days for the Black Death. The virus needed about 24 hours to infect a cell, replicate itself into millions of copies, and release its progeny. This did mean that after the virus had replicated, it subdued its victims in a dramatic, uncompromising fashion. Death could come rapidly. A person could appear well at one moment and collapse and die in the next moment.

Certainly this seems to be being paralleled by the current news out of China. A tweet from Dongline shows people randomly collapsed in a railway station and supermarkets. In each case, it appears that those infected suddenly collapsed having previously felt well enough to be going about their business.

In another incident, a man is seen being carried from the Shanghai Metro, completely inert.

There are numerous other postings on Twitter whose provenance we have been unable to ascertain, but which are demonstrably from China, show people wearing face masks, and are recent, suggesting that there is a reasonable possibility that these are connected to the Wuhan Coronavirus.

The bravery of the medical workers and members of the Chinese incidents is extraordinary, as they make efforts to provide comfort to the fallen at obvious risk to their own lives and health.

It must also be added that there is no indication of how widespread these incidents are, and it is perfectly possible that people in these clips have collapsed for other reasons, including exhaustion, drunkenness or cardiac arrest. So the following should be taken with some caution, while weighing it against the fact that the gravity and aggressiveness of the Chinese Communist Party’s response indicates that they believe that this is a national crisis.

The tweets listed below are by date of posting, but may be earlier incidents.

24 January 2019

26 January 2019

27 January 2019

28 January 2019

29 January 2019

31 January 2019

With the number of cases now greater that that for SARS, and with exponential growth in both cases and deaths, it is surely only a matter of time before the Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak is declared to be a global pandemic.

Article Licence: CC BY-ND 4.0

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