(GLOBE & MAIL) As Chinese authorities widened a massive urban lockdown and flew large numbers of medical personnel to Wuhan, the epicentre of a new SARS-like virus, medical authorities provided new indications that weeks of inaction had allowed the virus to spread widely before serious measures were taken.
Chinese authorities initially reported that the new 2019-nCoV coronavirus had most seriously affected the elderly and those left vulnerable by pre-existing health conditions.
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But an academic study published by Chinese researchers in The Lancet on Friday found that of the first 41 confirmed cases of the virus, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms, “less than half had underlying diseases.” Nearly half were 49 years of age or younger. And a third had not been exposed to the wild animal market identified as the source of virus, suggesting that even from the earliest days, it had begun to leap between people.