We will never know the truth of how it started, BUT right now it appears that some Chinese scientists working in Canada stole it from a lab and brought it back to China. There is speculation that China then started to play with it for a chemical weapon research project, and it got out accidentally. Who knows? If true, poetic justice is a bitch.
Some scientists are saying it could have originated from a snake infestation, but that doesn't seem likely.
People have been saying it might be worse than SARS.
SARs and MERs are from the same family. The Coronavirus is usually a mild to moderate upper-respiratory illness, much like the common cold. MOST PEOPLE will get a Coronavirus in their lifetime without knowing it is a Coronavirus.
Technical name: 2019-nCoV
Like most colds and flu, it usually is accompanied by a runny nose, cough, fever, and aches with a headache. As of Sunday night, there have been 2082 cases reported and 56 deaths. That comes to be 2.7% of those with it have died. The mortality rate may be higher as some of those infected may end up dying, taking the total up to 5% mortality.
Remember that illness is hardest on the elderly, so likely that most people don't have a lot to fear. Remember that 61,200 people died of the flu last year.
There is no known treatment though doctors in China have started to treat some patients with anti-HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavi.
It is interesting that a simulation of the Coronavirus pandemic was studied “theoretically” months ago, and one of the featured videos on Netlfix is PANDEMICS. Too many coincidences for the “tin foil hat” crowd that has been listening to some of the world's billionaires claim we need to thin the population to avoid famine and global warming. Amazing that this also happens at a time of the Chinese New Year when 5,000,000 Chinese may have left Wuhan to celebrate, making containing this disease tough. This differs from reports that noone is being allowed to leave Wuhan.
The best way to predict the future is to look at the past for an analogy. Though history doesn't copy, it does resemble. Back in 2003, SARs was the big fear. It was going to be as big as the Spanish Flu of 1918 – 1920 that infected 500 million worldwide. Close encounters with troops in WW1 caused rapid infestation, and today's modern ease of travel is not much different.
SARs failed to live up to the hype with 774 deaths and 8,100 infected. We will likely see more than 8,000 infected but less than this 10% mortality rate.
For the first few days of the news, the markets usually fall. Unknown outcomes hurt the markets. “I don't want to be long stocks if I am going to die, I need cash” is stupid, but how the markets work. I guess it is easier to be buried with cash than Ebay stock.
After the initial panic, stocks seem to actually do well as seen in the chart below. As with the boogey man and the Hale-Bop comet, things are never as bad as people fear. That doesn't mean this move can't be different, especially considering we are starting the year at overdone record levels, but... I am not too worried about the markets despite today being lower.
One month after the SARS outbreak started, the global stock market was up 8.6%. The Ebola and Zika saw the markes down 6 – 7%, but most of the time, the markets performed better than people thought.
Airline and travel stocks (Priceline, Expedia) will likely be the hardest hit.