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‘If I Had COVID-19, I’d Want To Be Treated in China,’ States WHO Official

Feb. 26, 2020 (EIRNS)—Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO epidemiologist who just returned from leading a WHO team to China, praised China’s approach, during his press conference in Geneva yesterday. “If I had the COVID-19 virus, I’d want to be treated in China,” Dr. Aylward said. He highlighted that China’s pragmatic approach is “technology-powered and science-driven. They are using big data, artificial intelligence (AI) in places.” China’s approach is a differentiated one, he said, tailoring their response to the severity of outbreak, numbers and location, relying on a variety of capabilities, including technological ones which allow for remote evaluation, medical consultation, prescription refills, and much more. You can’t place the whole country on lockdown—as was done in Wuhan—he said, thus the differentiated approach.

“It’s never easy to get the kind of passion, commitment, interest and individual sense of duty that help stop the virus. Every person you talked to [in China] has a sense that they’re mobilized like in a war against the virus, and they are organized.”

His conclusion? “The world is—it’s simply not ready.... This is a rapidly escalating epidemic in different places that we’ve got to tackle superfast to prevent a pandemic. That may be difficult in countries that don’t have the same disease surveillance setup as China.”

Aylward emphasized that the techniques used by China can be emulated elsewhere. They are “old-fashioned public-health tools, but applied with a rigor and innovation of approach on a scale we’ve never seen in history. In 30 years of doing this business, I’ve not seen this before.” Being successful requires “a real shift in mindset.” You can’t find every single case, but “you want to find enough to break the big chains of transmission, slow this thing down and get a grip on it. The technique might sound draconian, but it is how a lot of public health work is done.”

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