The coronavirus outbreak reached a grim milestone on Sunday, Feb. 9, after exceeding the death toll of the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003. New data released by China’s National Health Commission revealed that 89 more deaths and 2,656 new cases were recorded in China on Sunday alone, raising the toll to at least 811.

The first coronavirus-related death was reported in January in Wuhan China, where the new strain of virus is believed to have emerged from a wholesale food market in December. A month since then, the epidemic has already killed 811, surpassing the toll from the SARS outbreak 17 years ago. With at least 37,000 coronavirus patients in China as of Sunday, the number of infections in the country also now far exceeds that of SARS, which infected only 8,000 in a span of one year.

The number of deaths reported on Sunday was the highest in China in a single day so far. Although the number of new cases has stabilized in recent days, the World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned the public against reading too much into the data issued by the media, saying that the entire Hubei Province in China is still in the midst of a “very intense outbreak.” Experts believe that deaths and infections from the coronavirus are undercounted in the country as testing facilities remain under severe strain.

According to W.H.O. Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghenrevesus, it is still too early to make predictions as to when the coronavirus outbreak will end. “We have to understand it with caution because it can show stability for a few days and then they can shoot up,” he said. “It’s slow now, but it may accelerate,” he added.

On Feb. 9, Dr. Ghenrevesus announced on Twitter that an advanced team from the W.H.O. was on its way to China to assist with the outbreak. The W.H.O. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reportedly been offering assistance to China for weeks but China had been stern about not letting experts into their country. Following the new death cases on Sunday, however, China has reportedly decided to reverse course.

corona virus The novel coronavirus has already infected thousands in China. World Health Organization (WHO) / Facebook