The Coronavirus May Last for 2 Years - Expert

Source: OT-Team (AFJ)

On March 17, Consulate-General of the Peoples Republic of China in Dsseldorf, with the assistance of the Shanghai Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, invited Professor Zhang Wenhong, head of the medical expert group of COVID-19 in Shanghai, to give a special lecture on the pandemic via a video call where Zhang responded to the possible duration of the virus.

Here are Professor Zhangs answers to some key questions during the teleconferencing.

Professor Zhang

Q1: What kind of disease does the COVID-19 belong to? What are its characteristics?

A1: Up to now, our experience with this virus is that it is not as severe as SARS, as long as we give the best treatment to the patients. The fatality rate of SARS is about 10%, while for this virus, it is less than 1% in Shanghai and Germany.

Q2: What is the harm of the COVID-19?

A2: It can't be identified at all in the early stage, as it's not as severe as SARS. Patients with mild symptoms may move around and then get more people infected, which is the opposite of SARS. Once people infected by the SARS, they would be unable to go out within 2 to 3 days.

Q3: When will all cases be substantially under control?

A3: It is expected that the majority of cases will be well controlled this summer, and the pandemic will go through a trough. However, it is hard to say whether it will recur in the winter. Communication with the opposite Southern Hemisphere is not ruled out, because there are fewer cases in summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but in winter in the Southern Hemisphere, cases will also be transmitted to each other. It's normal to go back and forth for a year or two. The only thing we know for sure is that we can beat it this time.

Q4: What if I got sick? How risky would it be? What shall I do?

A4: This is a matter of great concern to us all today. Of course, the best is that you don't get sick at the first place. Honestly, it is completely possible. If you protect yourself properly, the risk of infection is extremely low. No contact, no risk.

Q5: How to understand Germany's epidemic prevention policy?

A5: The German Chancellor said that 60% - 70% of the people will eventually be infected, but this is the worst-case scenario, which wont happen given Germany's current epidemic prevention measures. Actually, as the anti-virus strategy of each country is becoming more and more active, it is only a matter of time that the pandemic is effectively contained.

Q6: This virus is not as severe as SARS, and its transmissibility is similar to that of influenza. At first, people thought the 1% fatality rate was OK, but actually it wasn't. What's the problem?

A6: The proportion of people with severe infection of the virus is about 20%. As per the current situation in Shanghai and Germany, most of these critically ill patients will recover after treatment. However, when tens of thousands of people are ill at the same time in one city, the capacity is pushed to limits. The biggest problem is that the beds are full, and no place for those severe patients in the hospital, which leads to a high fatality rate.

Q7: Where is the German outbreak headed for?

A7: I can basically tell you now that you can drop the idea that this epidemic will end in Europe in the short term. China froze all activities across the county for one month to keep it under control, but its impossible that the whole world could stop for four weeks, thus it's hard in Germany and all of Europe. If other European countries dont take actions, it will be stressful for Germany to prevent the imported cases.
Q8: When will the pandemic peak come?

A: I think it will be from April to May or June! In the summer things will get better, but will the virus be gone for good after that? From my current understanding of the outbreak, it seems not quite likely, as it depends on the measures taken by each place and the trend of the pandemic.

Q9: Are young people safer from the virus?

A9: According to our data in Shanghai, the risk of young people developing to severe infection is very low given sufficient medical resources.

To determine whether you need to go to the hospital? Remember, the COVID-19 has a typical characteristic: dyspnea, which is also should be an indicator.

If you have no difficulty in breathing and can walk from the first floor to the third floor, then there is no problem at all, as it proves that your lungs are fine, so it is meaningless to go to the hospital. Otherwise, you shall go for treatment.