Sunday, 9 February 2020

China coronavirus experts have egg on face

Here’s where it currently stands with the coronavirus (5 February 2020) ...

The latest figures show that 490 people have died in mainland China from the virus. According to the very reliable Johns Hopkins University tracker, there are now 23,680 confirmed cases in the mainland meaning the mortality rate from the virus is 2.07% nationally. 
Of the deaths, 479 have now occurred in Hubei province where the capital, Wuhan, is the eipicentre of the deadly outbreak. There have been 16,678 confirmed cases in the province making for a death rate of 2.87% in the province.





POOR PREDICTIONS FROM CHINA EXPERTS 

A week ago, on 29 January 2020, one of China’s top experts said the Wuhan coronavirus infection rate could peak in early February.

“I estimate that it will reach its peak in around the next week or 10 days, after that there will be no more major increases,” said Zhong Nanshan, the respiratory disease scientist who played the pivotal role in China’s fight against the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) coronavirus epidemic in 2002-03. (Reference link: 
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3048020/chinese-experts-say-wuhan-coronavirus-outbreak-will-not-last )

While stating that it is very difficult to make predictions about the infection peak for the new virus, Zhong said China’s efforts in early detection and early isolation were the right measures. “After doing these two things, we have enough confidence to prevent another peak,” he said.

The infection rate estimate by Zhong was echoed by Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. He said he was “optimistic” that the outbreak’s “turning point” could arrive by February 8 if current disease control protocol is maintained.

“If we stick to the current measures, we should see a turning point in the near future. Everyone predicts that the situation can improve by the time of the Lantern Festival [on February 8],” said Gao in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday.“I am personally optimistic, and I believe that [it will improve] earlier than this, but everyone must stick to the prevention and control measures.”

SHARP DISAGREEMENT 

Professor Gabriel Leung, dean of Hong Kong University’s medical school, is in sharp disagreement on the potential infection rate for the Wuhan virus.


“We have to be prepared, that this particular epidemic may be about to become a global epidemic,” he said. The outbreak was expected to peak in April or May in five major Chinese cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou – before the number of infections could begin to gradually decline in June or July, Leung said. As many as 44,000 people could be infected in Wuhan alone, with only 25,000 likely to be showing symptoms at this time, said Leung, citing the team’s research.



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