The WHO-China joint covid-19 report

2020 March 03
originally posted on facebook

The best news I’ve seen recently is the report of the WHO mission to China to study covid-19. My two key takeaways from this and other expert opinions:

  1. The decline in cases in China is genuine and the outbreak is under control there. This is in part because China has employed approximately 10000 epidemiologists to trace contacts, and more than 40000 excess health care workers in the Wuhan area. Compare these figures to a cumulative total of 80000 people who have become ill with covid-19 in China! Note that of the 11 new cases confirmed in China outside of Hubei yesterday, 7 were imported from Italy.

  2. It is absolutely still possible for covid-19 to be contained without becoming a pandemic.

In light of this, I am all the more disappointed in the governments of Iran and the US which have failed to monitor the outbreak, failed to contain the outbreak, and covered up the extent of the outbreak. If covid-19 becomes a pandemic, it will be because of a failure to respond in a timely manner, and not because it was inevitable.

“Much of the global community is not yet ready, in mindset and materially, to implement the measures that have been employed to contain COVID-19 in China. These are the only measures that are currently proven to interrupt or minimize transmission chains in humans. Fundamental to these measures is extremely proactive surveillance to immediately detect cases, very rapid diagnosis and immediate case isolation, rigorous tracking and quarantine of close contacts, and an exceptionally high degree of population understanding and acceptance of these measures.”

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