Enlarge /. Bruce Aylward, team leader of the World Health Organization (WHO) and China joint mission to COVID-19, shows graphics during a press conference on February 25, 2020 at WHO headquarters in Geneva.
Epidemiologist Bruce Aylward, who had just come out of a plane from China, sat in front of press representatives at the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday, and gave important insights into the coronavirus front.
Aylward, a nearly 30-year-old veteran of outbreaks and emergency measures at WHO, had just led a joint mission through the COVID-19 trenches to assess the outbreak and China's control efforts. His assessment was overwhelming: China had responded swiftly and to a grandiose extent, with different outbreak responses tailored to curb disease spread in different environments – from the blazing epicenter of the outbreak in a densely populated city to the blotchy disease clusters in rural areas ,
He pointed out humped charts of cases over time – they are in the form of an epidemic that has been hobbled, he said. Disease spread has been declining since the beginning of the month, and doctors in China are improving their ability to treat patients. "If I had COVID-19, I would like to be treated in China," he said frankly.
Based on the data, China's massive efforts have generally been successful and suggest that the virus may be present, Aylward reported. However, Chinese officials remain vigilant, he added, if this unprecedented virus (which has been plaguing mankind for weeks) brings surprises.
While Aylward was impressed by the Chinese government's response, at the start of the briefing, he noted that he was also impressed by the response of the Chinese citizens – their cooperation and individual sense of duty to try to suppress the outbreak. "We spoke to hundreds of people … and they all shared that sense of responsibility and the responsibility to be part of it," said Aylward, noting that there seemed to be no pressure or presence from the government to enforce that sense of duty , People adhered to quarantine protocols and medical personnel volunteered to go to the most affected areas in Wuhan Province.
"Everyone you talk to there feels like they're mobilized, like in a war against this virus," said Aylward.
Call to war
The importance of this solidarity and cooperation was not lost on officials in the United States. Just as Aylward was speaking in Geneva, officials thousands of miles away in the United States disease control and prevention centers made their own cry during the war.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, that the American public and companies should prepare for the possibility that the new coronavirus will spread in the United States.
Given the rapid increase in COVID-19 in other countries outside of China in recent days, "we expect the community to expand in that country," Messonnier said. "It's not so much about whether this will happen, but rather when exactly this will happen and how many people in this country will be seriously ill."
Parents should talk to schools and day care centers about outbreak reactions and closure plans and ask about opportunities for teleschools, she advised. Businesses and employees should think about distance work arrangements and alternative childcare. And people should check with their healthcare providers about the availability of telemedicine options.
"I had a conversation with my family over breakfast this morning," said Dr. Messonnier. "I told my children that as a family we had to prepare for a major disruption in our lives, although I didn't think they were in danger right now."
If the virus spreads in the Community, additional measures may also be effective, e.g. B. Cancellation of mass meetings, additional hygiene measures and the delay of electrical medical procedures.
As always, people should follow good hygiene practices, including frequent and rigorous hand washing, covering coughs and sneezing, staying sick at home, and flu shots.
Regarding the preparation that officials should take to prepare, Aylward said there are important lessons learned from China's successful responses. "There are really practical things that need to be prepared, such as ensuring that hospital beds are available, isolation measures are in place, healthcare facilities have adequate amounts of ventilators and oxygen, and public health workers are ready to make new contacts. Cases, how they are identified.
Aylward also noted that due to the large number of disease screenings done in China so far, there don't seem to be many mild cases that go undetected. And although an asymptomatic spread of the disease can occur, it doesn't seem to be a driver of the outbreak, he said. This assessment can alleviate concerns that the virus will become a pandemic by spreading widely in communities from undetected asymptomatic or mild cases. So far, household-level transmission appears to have been the main driver of the outbreak, he said.
By Tuesday, the COVID 19 outbreak had reached more than 80,300 cases worldwide with 2,704 deaths.