Coronavirus Outbreak: What You Need To Know
Project HOPE is airlifting support to China to help contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, a global health emergency that has infected more than 75,000 people. Get the facts about this developing story and learn more about you can help.
The Wuhan coronavirus is now a global health emergency.
Health officials in China are rushing to contain the spread of COVID-19, a respiratory illness that has infected more than 75,000 people and killed over 2,500.
Project HOPE is on the ground in Wuhan, helping support doctors and nurses on the front lines of the virus. Here’s what you need to know.
The Latest Developments
Sunday, February 23, 2020: Project HOPE Partners with United Airlines
United Airlines is donating funds to deliver desperately needed ventilators to 11 hospitals in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, which remains under lockdown and continues to host the highest number of cases.
The ventilators, which can help save the life of a critically ill patient with a respiratory illness like COVID-19, will be delivered to the hospitals by Project HOPE’s team in China in coming days.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020: HOPE Has Now Distributed 4.5 Million Pieces of Protective Equipment
As health workers inside China continue to battle the spread of COVID-19, Project HOPE has now distributed more than 4.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment, including a recent shipment of 1.8 million respirator masks and 80,000 isolation gowns for use inside Shanghai and Hubei Province.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020: HOPE Receives 17 Tons of Protective Gear in Wuhan
Project HOPE has received a 17-ton shipment of protective equipment and medical supplies brought to Wuhan via four aircraft charted by the U.S. Department of State. The supplies include protective gear, medical supplies, and humanitarian aid donated by U.S. businesses and relief organizations. Project HOPE received the supplies and is working with the Hubei Charity Federation to facilitate deliveries to hospitals on the front lines of the outbreak.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020: Two More Shipments of Protective Equipment En Route to China
Two shipments containing over 100 pallets of personal protective equipment are currently in transit to Wuhan and Shanghai, China, as Project HOPE continues to mobilize support for frontline health workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak. The shipments are bound for the Hubei Provincial Charity Federation and Shanghai Children’s Medical Center.
Monday, February 3, 2020: First Delivery of Protective Equipment Arrives in China
Project HOPE staff in China have received the first shipment of critically needed protective equipment, including 2 million face masks, 11,000 protective suits, and 280,000 pairs of exam gloves provided by MAP International and MedShare, utilizing in-kind transport from UPS.
Friday, January 31, 2020: First Delivery of Protective Equipment En Route to China
As supplies are running low in China, Project HOPE is mobilizing multiple airlifts of personal protective gear and other critical medical supplies to support doctors and nurses in Wuhan.
Thursday, January 30, 2020: Project HOPE is Airlifting Supplies to the Front Lines of the Virus
Project HOPE is airlifting critical supplies to frontline health workers in Wuhan, China, including 220,000 face masks, 870 pairs of protective goggles, and more than 6,500 pairs of protective coveralls. The donations are from Latter-day Saint Charities and will be bound for Wuhan in the coming days.
Monday, January 27, 2020: Project HOPE is Mobilizing Support in Wuhan
Project HOPE’s team on the ground in Wuhan is mobilizing a shipment of personal protective equipment to arrive in Wuhan in the days to come.
Get The Facts: What You Need To Know and How To Help
What is happening in China?
China is facing a deadly outbreak of a respiratory illness called COVID-19, a novel coronavirus that has infected more than 75,000 people so far and killed over 2,500. The death toll in China is now deadlier than the 2002–03 SARS outbreak, and health officials are rushing to contain its spread while treating a massive influx of patients in hospitals. Since January 31, the number of confirmed cases worldwide has nearly tripled.
The epicenter of the virus is Wuhan, the largest city in central China and home to 11 million people — roughly the size of New York and Chicago combined. Wuhan and several cities around it are on a travel lockdown as officials try to stop the virus’s spread.
What are the conditions like in Wuhan?
Doctors in Wuhan have described a “flooding” of patients in hospitals, with people waiting hours to seek treatment. Screening the disease is difficult, and with large crowds gathering inside hospitals, it’s likely that the virus is spreading among doctors and patients.
Health workers are facing a serious shortage of protective gear, and some doctors have been told not to come in to work over fears they could catch the virus. Every day, hospitals in Wuhan consume 59,000 protective suits, 110,000 masks, and 22,000 goggles. Many doctors are wearing the same protective suits for days at a time; others are wearing garbage bags or raincoats for protection.
To help ease the strain on Wuhan’s health system, the city rushed to build two new hospitals in a matter of days — one with 1,000 beds and one with 1,500 — which are now open and accepting patients.
What is Project HOPE doing to help?
As the situation develops, our team on the ground in Wuhan continues to coordinate closely with local officials to learn how we can support doctors and nurses as they treat rising numbers of patients. HOPE has mobilized multiple airlifts of protective equipment, including face masks, protective suits, goggles, and gloves.
Project HOPE has a long history in Wuhan, beginning with the founding of the HOPE School of Nursing in 2001, which has trained thousands of nurses in partnership with Wuhan University, including many of those on the front lines of the virus now.
What is a novel coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus is a new kind of coronavirus that has not been previously identified. Coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold, though some can grow serious. SARS was a coronavirus that killed 774 people in 2002–03, while MERS is a coronavirus that has killed 861 people since 2012.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Most coronaviruses present symptoms similar to the common cold. SARS and MERS, however, showed severe symptoms like fever, chills, and cough, and often progressed to pneumonia. Because of this, certain populations are at higher risk for coronaviruses, including elderly people and those with weakened immune systems.
So far, COVID-19 appears to have a much lower fatality rate than previous outbreaks of SARS and MERS, with deaths primarily occurring in elderly people who had pre-existing conditions.
What is the risk that COVID-19 will spread?
While 99% of reported cases of the coronavirus are inside China, the virus has spread to 25 other countries, including the U.S. It can take over a week to show symptoms of COVID-19, and though Wuhan is under a travel lockdown, some 5 million people — roughly the entire population of Ireland — left the city before it was closed.
Despite the virus’s spread, the most dangerous place remains inside Hubei province, where the vast majority of cases are isolated. One major concern inside Wuhan is that health workers will be infected — so far, more than 1,700 frontline health workers have been infected, and six have died. This underscores the importance of providing personal protective equipment, including goggles, gloves and suits.
In total, at least 17 cities around Wuhan have been put on lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, sealing off some 50 million people. That’s roughly equivalent to a lockdown of the entire U.S. West Coast.
You can help!
Project HOPE is currently airlifting critical support for the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. Here’s how you can help.
Donate. Our ability to respond when health emergencies spread depends on the generosity of people like you. Please make a generous donation to our Global Health Emergency Fund today. You’ll help us prepare for emergencies before they happen and respond quickly when disaster strikes, so we can help communities around the world when we’re needed most.
Volunteer. Are you a healthcare or other professional who would like to learn more about volunteering abroad with Project HOPE? Learn more about our volunteer program and join our volunteer roster
Spread the word. Stay up-to-date on this story and our lifesaving work around the world by following us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, and help spread the word by sharing stories that move and inspire you.