While the number of confirmed corona infections in China continues to rise significantly, they remain low outside of China, especially in Western Europe and the USA. Up to now, a 2019-nCoV infections has been detected in about 25,000 people and round 500 deaths are currently attributed to this outbreak. While last week representatives of the Chinese authorities assumed that the peak of this epidemic would be reached by the end of this week, it must now be assumed that the number of cases will continue to rise for quite some time. Currently, the numbers of confirmed cases of the COVID 19 are still rising sharply on a daily basis, and the new peak is expected for the end of next week.

Even if it is important to record figures (e.g. of confirmed cases of infection), these figures must always be put into perspective to a certain extent. Presumably, significantly more people have been infected with the corona virus than officially reported. By far not all the infected people have been tested and confirmed positive for the virus. We can assume that all the people with mild flu symptoms seek medical treatment and therefore would not be taken into account. Furthermore, it is unclear to what extent all the corona related deaths are registered as so. Based on these facts, no reliable statement can be made to date about the health risk for the individual person, e.g. mortality. It is also unclear how many people have been effectively infected with corona so far, which is decisive for the mortality rate (number of people who have died of corona virus infection / total number of people with corona infection). While the total number of confirmed infections and corona-related deaths does not indicate an amelioration, the number of people have survieved the illness and are released form the hospitals increasing. And the number of suspected cases in China has also fallen from 5,173 to 3,971 suspected cases.

While the epidemiological situation in China is still escalating, it remains at a low level outside China. If at all, the number of confirmed cases is only increasing by individual cases. Even with the limited information available, we can expect that more people in Central Europe and Switzerland and infected than the current number of confirmed cases. Therefor it is certainly far too early to announce an all-clear regarding this virus.

The experience with corona virus outbreak will certainly have an impact on how we deal with epidemics, and potentially pandemics in the future: The measures taken by the Chinese authorities as well as the authorities in the affected countries are enormous. The importance of early action specific to a pandemic could be reinforced in companies. Finally, the economic implications are certainly impressive, not only for tourism, but also for industrial companies outside China, which are no longer able to continue production, for example due to the absence of components from Chinese production (Graphic: WHO).