A terrifying graph shows how fast the Wuhan virus has spread so far and how close it is to becoming a pandemic

insider@insider.com (Bill Bostock)

 

An alarming graph shows how fast the Wuhan coronavirus has spread in the past two weeks alone and highlights how soon it could become a pandemic.

The bar graph was posted on Twitter by Cate Cadell, the China correspondent for Reuters, on Wednesday.

It shows that in the past three days the number of infections has risen sharply, as have the number of deaths and the number of countries discovering infected people.

It's not clear who made the graph, but the data on it is current. Cadell did not immediately respond to a request for clarification from Business Insider.

The pneumonia-like virus — also known as 2019-nCoV — was first discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on December 31.

Nine days later, the state broadcaster China Central Television reported that multiple people who were sick had tested positive for 2019-nCoV — the first formal identification of the disease.

As of Wednesday, China's health commission blamed the virus for nine deaths in the country and said it had confirmed 440 cases of infection.

Some 2,197 other people have been identified as having been in close contact with the virus, though 765 have been released, the health commission's vice minister, Li Bin, said Wednesday. Those figures were current as of midnight local time on Tuesday.

He also called on people not to visit or leave the city, effectively imposing a soft quarantine.

"Basically, do not go to Wuhan," Li said. "And those in Wuhan please do not leave the city."

The outbreak of the Wuhan virus may soon be named a pandemic — which the World Health Organization defines as the "worldwide spread of a new disease" — after cases were reported in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and, on Tuesday, the US.

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