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This ‘unknown pneumonia’ hitting Kazakhstan is deadlier than coronavirus, officials say. Here’s why you may want to monitor it

2020 runs up the score with a new report about an unknown pneumonia hitting Kazakhstan

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In this handout photo released by Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC), Roscosmos space agency, the Soyuz MS-15 space capsule carrying International Space Station (ISS) crew members descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area near Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, April 17, 2020.

In this handout photo released by Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC), Roscosmos space agency, the Soyuz MS-15 space capsule carrying International Space Station (ISS) crew members descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area near Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, April 17, 2020.

AP

The Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan has warned of a new deadly “unknown pneumonia” as it might be deadlier than the novel coronavirus, The South China Morning Post reports.

The embassy issued a warning to Chinese citizens in Kazakhstan about the pneumonia. Kazakhstanhas seen a spike in cases recently.

“The death rate of this disease is much higher than the novel coronavirus. The country’s health departments are conducting comparative research into the pneumonia virus, but have yet to identify the virus,” the embassy said.

Kazakhstani officials and media said it’s only pneumonia. The Chinese embassy described it an “unknown pneumonia.”

It’s unclear why the embassy added the “unknown” tag onto it, according to the South China Morning Post.

“The Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan reminds Chinese nationals here to be aware of the situation and step up prevention to lower the infection risks,” the embassy statement said.

If this sounds familiar, consider an article I wrote back in January 2020— yeah, way back when. Health officials from China said they were worried about a mysterious and unknown virus that had infected dozens of people, according to my report for the Deseret News.

At the time, Chinese health officials said a new and mysterious strain of pneumonia infected dozens of people, including 59 in Wuhan.

World Health Organization said in a statement in January (via SCMP): “There is limited information to determine the overall risk of this reported cluster of pneumonia of unknown (cause).”

China had expressed worry that severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) had returned.

Li Gang, director of the Wuhan Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, told Changjiang Ribao, a local newspaper, that there was no evidence that the disease passed from humans to humans, according to the South China Morning Post.

We know now that’s not the case, as this mysterious illness became the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19 — which has transformed the world.