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Expert's perspective - Dr. Muhammad Munir separates facts from fiction about coronavirus outbreak Updated: 2020-02-12 04:07:34 KST

People are understandably unsettled given the media attention the coronavirus outbreak is getting, but we wanted to find out whether people are right to be concerned or should just go on with life without stressing out too much.
We are going to dig deeperby talking to an expert in the field of viruses.
I’m joined on Skype by Doctor Muhammad Munir, Lecturer in Bio-medicine at Lancaster University in the UK. Thanks for joining us.

Doctor Munir, as per what is being reported by China and other countries, there have now been around 43-thousand confirmed coronavirus cases. We’ve been told a lot about how contagious this virus is, but considering it’s been around six weeks since China reported its first case, why are there are so few cases and why in this inter-connected world is Hubei Province much more affected than any other region?

2. If our viewers are concerned about the coronavirus affecting them or their family, is a face mask really going to make that much of a difference? Reports say the virus can live on your hands for an extended period anyway and we touch our mouths all the time without even thinking…

3. Experts are still searching for the origin of the outbreak. We are bombarded with reports and different theories. This torrent of information from left and right confuses people. Having studied the genetic make-up of the coronavirus yourself, how do you think it started?

4. Finally, the mortality rate for the coronavirus is low compared to SARS, MERS or other viruses we’ve seen in the past. We’ve had 28 confirmed cases in South Korea, no deaths and all of the patients are either in stable condition or have recovered. Why is the mortality rate so low and how likely is it at all that the virus mutates and the ratio of deaths per cases jumps suddenly?

Ok, I think we all learned a lot and we appreciate your insights. That was Doctor Muhammad (Moo-near) Munir, Lecturer in Bio-medicine at Lancaster University in the UK. Thank you for joining us.
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