The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the current coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The virus, designated 2019-nCoV, has infected more than 9,800 people in China and killed more than 200, with roughly 140 cases appearing in at least 18 other countries on four continents.
“We are at a crossroads, in which two things are possible,” says Alessandro Vespignani, who directs the Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical systems at Northeastern. “Either the screening, detection, and isolation in China will be able to contain the epidemic there, or it will be a global issue. And this will be decided in the next couple of weeks.”