I've been stewing all day about today's KSA MOH report: '4 New Confirmed Corona Cases Recorded'. Coming after yesterday's four cases, it's clear that something's gone wrong in Riyadh. I couldn't find any more details in the Arabic-language Saudi media (expecting an actual analysis of the outbreak would be naive), and tweets under the #Corona hashtag were all about the inconvenience to travelling Saudis of being checked for MERS at many foreign airports.
MERS can kill you, but it's rarely in a hurry. A 76-year-old man who was confirmed on July 2, and a 32-year-old expatriate man, confirmed on July 21, didn't die until August 4. One of today's deaths, a 73-year-old Saudi woman, evidently contracted MERS before July 1.
Sometimes it does kill quickly. A 75-year-old Saudi man reported in critical condition on August 3 was dead on August 4, and a 78-year-old man was both confirmed and reported dead on August 4.
Recoveries also took a long time. Three Riyadhis recovered during this period after contracting MERS before July 1. A 28-year-old expatriate man fell ill on July 28 and recovered on August 7.
But this is based strictly on reported age, sex, and nationality of the cases, and may be wildly off. We don't even know for sure what hospital(s) the patients were in, though some Arabic tweets point to King Abdulaziz Medical City of the National Guard Health Service. Nor do we know if the cases have all been residents of Riyadh, and in only a few cases are we more or less aware of family links between cases.