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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Sean is normally based in Beijing. But you actually. She volunteered for the assignment. Because I been interested in infectious diseases for a while. That's a that's an interesting interest. What is it about affects? It's just diseases that interest you. Well it's something that you know you can't see but it really can rapidly change people's behavior and also How they relate to each other strangers friends family members? I really just wanted to see it. So last week she stocked up on face masks and booked booked a flight to Wuhan so I flew there on Wednesday morning into Han and Han is a city located located in central China. Some people call it the Chicago of China because it's a major domestic transportation hub. There's a lot of railways highways on the ground. It looks like a lot of Chinese second tier cities the all the all pretty similar. They all look the same sort of Lego box folks but on the street level Shawn says he felt really different. It was really early quiet. There were very few people on the streets. The weren't aren't that many cars part of the reason is because of Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is the big holiday. In China. Millions of people travel home to see their families. By the time. Sean got to hunt. The city had already started emptying out for the holiday. But that wasn't the only reason the streets were so quiet and talking to residents is a lot of people were staying inside and afraid of coming out afraid of being infected afraid of going to public spaces and they were just avoiding going out in public. Uh the virus that had this giant city on alert has a pretty regal name. The virus is what's known as Corona virus. Chris Corona viruses. Have that name. Because when you look at them under a microscope they have these little spikes on their outer surface in the scientists rather fancifully. I decided it looks like a Crown Corona Virus Stephanie. Ilgenfritz is our health and science editor. And we'll shun was on the ground in Wuhan. Stephanie was keeping tabs on the virus from New York Krona viruses mostly infect animals like bats but they can transmit from animals to humans and they can mutate to become come transmittable between humans as well so this is a corona virus that science hasn't seen before this is a new one. This is one that has not been seen in humans before and in fact they call it two thousand nineteen NCO v which basically just means new corona virus discovered in two thousand nineteen strikes me as surprisingly uncreative move. I don't think creativity usually is a priority for public health officials and you can just call at the lawn virus. That name might end up sticking many of the first people to get sick in on either worked at or visited a live animal market. They're part of the market sells exotic animals for meat stuff like baby crocodiles crocodiles and bamboo rats. There's evidence that the outbreak could have started their though. Scientists aren't entirely sure yet as the virus spread from animals to humans and then from humans to humans it began causing pneumonia like symptoms which can be fatal and this was a story that China had seen before It happened almost two decades ago with another corona virus called SARS just like with the Wuhan virus it really took golf during the Lunar New Year as millions crisscrossed. The country on planes and trains SARS spread to Hong Kong into Vietnam Taiwan and Canada China. But the Chinese government refused to acknowledge that it had a crisis on its hands. It hid SARS cases from World Health Organization investigators going so far as to put patients in hotels or drive them around in ambulances that. WHO inspectors wouldn't see them China's efforts to downplay. The outbreak continued for months until the spring of two thousand and three and April. They acted much more aggressively to shut down the mayday celebrations to to try to contain travel now realizing that traveled have been a problem in the past but it took a long time. How do people evaluate China's performance there on containing the SARS epidemic? What was widely considered to have been inadequate and the government was forced to admit that in fact they could have done better they could have been more transparent and by the time SARS was contained? It had killed almost eight hundred people and infected over eight thousand so far the virus seems to be less lethal than SARS China arguably has more to lose. Well the China has made it a priority to become a global player scientifically. They've invested very heavily and improving their public health systems. And if they can't contain this suggests that they're not there yet. They're not really ready to be a member of the international community the standing of a country. That's able to stand alone. It could damage their reputation in and it could affect international travel and commerce as well in fact it already has yesterday. The Dow fell more than four hundred and fifty points. Its biggest drop drop since October on fears. The outbreak was getting worse but even after the hard lessons of SARS Sean says when this outbreak started local officials imposed poised to make the same mistakes. All over again for weeks. They were minimizing. Saying it's really not that bad and in early early January they want authorities actually ended up pulling eight people for allegedly spreading false. Information about the virus were kind of false information it appeared appear. That was just information that the outbreak was happening. But they didn't give any evidence that they were purposely spreading false information so it seemed like that they were more kind of aggressively containing. Would they would view as negative information coming out than anything else at a meeting of local officials around this time. The Corona virus wasn't even on the agenda. There's a concern that basically local government officials took a wait and see approach. Like don't do anything until they get a directive from on high last last Monday they got that directive Chinese President Xi Jinping said for all those provincial governments. You have to be very proactive about disclosing cases you. You should be hiding anything. After that we start seeing all of these new reports. Hundreds of new confirmed cases coming out from all over the country. When Sean landed in in Wuhan last Wednesday there were about three hundred? Seventy five cases of krono virus in the city in the surrounding province by the end of the weekend that number had climbed to for more than fourteen hundred. And what was the mood like in the city as people were seeing the number of cases. Go up like this. I think what was most marked about my. I time there was that it was kind of Intel. The lockdown was announced. It was fairly quiet so I went to two of the hospitals treating patients. It was just relatives. Essentially waiting outside waiting for news of their loved ones inside whether they were tested positive for the virus or not and and basically passing along food and supplies it was somber but it wasn't really hectic story passing in food. Yeah so and China patients mostly rely on their relatives for food and everyday essentials like towels for example and it was just streams of people bringing in bags of soup and fruit and vitamins and towels in plastic bags and each labeled with their family members names on and then some actually Britain and red lipstick. Because I think they didn't realize that they had to label. It made me think that I needed to figure out who would come and feed me if I ever had to stand hospital.