Expert: Novel coronavirus outbreak may peak in mid-to-late February
Updated 09:14, 12-Feb-2020
Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan predicted Tuesday that the novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) epidemic will reach its peak in mid-to-late February, based on data model analysis.
Zhong made the remarks at a teleconsultation with a medical team working in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
It's hard to predict when the inflection point will come, said Zhong, adding that it depends on the prevention and control work during the travel peak.
The expert said that there are still some difficulties in treating critically ill patients.
"The NCP has its unique pathological features," he said, adding that antiviral action and anti-inflammation are core problems.
"As far as we know, the 2019 novel coronavirus is not exactly the same as the one that causes SARS," said the expert, adding that they have been testing several types of drugs.
"Our priorities are first, to be able to kill the virus itself, and second, to alleviate symptoms. We are still facing great challenges. But the fatality rate of this new coronavirus is comparatively lower than that of SARS and of MERS."
The expert said that the development of the epidemic shows that new cases are emerging slower than before, but he also called for continuing prevention efforts to ensure early detection and early quarantine, saying the situation in Wuhan will improve, but it is still in a difficult time now.
"Now our most important work in Wuhan City is to prevent human-to-human transmission and stop the spread of the virus," Zhong said, adding that with the completion of Huoshenshan and Leishenshan Hospitals and several other makeshift hospitals, they are now able to treat patients at different stages in isolation.
(Cover image: Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan (R) at a teleconsultation with a medical team working in Wuhan. /CCTV Photo)