Wuhan virus numbers treated with caution

China | 14 Feb 2020 1:17 pm

The acceleration in the number of coronavirus infections in China does not necessarily represent a sudden surge in new infections as much as a revised methodology.

“I suspect but can’t be certain that the underlying trend is still downwards,” said Paul Hunter, a professor of health protection at the University of East Anglia in England. “It almost certainly does not mean that there has been a resurgence of the epidemic overnight.”

China’s Health Commission has said that the change was aimed at identifying suspected cases in which the patient has pneumonia so they can be treated more quickly and reduce the likelihood of more serious illness or death.

Experts also saw it as a reflection of a chaotic crush of people seeking treatment and the struggle to keep up with a backlog of untested samples in Hubei province and its capital city, Wuhan, where the disease first surfaced in December.

“Clearly in Wuhan, the health system is under extreme pressure and so the first priority has to be the patient,” said Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.-AP

 

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