In the last few days I've been surprised at the daily jumps in MERS cases and deaths. So I went back to May 1 to check the KSA MOH numbers.
On that date, Saudi MERS cases totalled 371 since the start of the outbreak in the fall of 2012. Of those, 107 had died.
As of today, May 9, cases total 473, with 133 deaths. That's 102 new cases and 26 deaths in nine days.
For purposes of comparison, on April 1 the MERS figures had been stuck for several days at 163 cases and 64 deaths; on that date, four new cases were reported in Jeddah's King Fahd Hospital. So let's say the real total was 167 and 64 deaths. That means 204 Saudis contracted MERS in April, and 43 died.
Going back through my March and early April posts, I've been reminded of the uproar going on in Jeddah over the outbreak. This increase in numbers, assuming the KSA MOH is accurate, certainly helps to explain why the HCWs in King Fahd and other Saudi hospitals were on the edge of mutiny.
It probably didn't help on April 2 when a Ministry official announced "The situation is under control Kingdom-wide," when the male nurse Bandar bin Salim Al-Kuthairy had come back from his wedding and gone straight into intensive care in King Abdulaziz Hospital, where he soon died.
It's easy to lose track of trends, which is why I'm grateful for grownups like Dr. Ian Mackay who keep count. He figures the cases are slowly dropping. Even so, we've seen a remarkable surge in cases in the last five or six weeks. It's been enough topple a health minister and change the Saudis' health communication strategy—at least a little.