For the first time in weeks, Wuhan, the city in China that reports have identified as the epicenter of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, reported a total of zero infections, while in other areas like in mainland China, 34 new cases were confirmed on Wednesday, nine in Guangdong, one case in Zhejiang and Heilongjiang, and in Beijing; as of this writing the daily record is 21 cases.
According to New Zealand’s RNZ, the Chinese health authorities have reported that the total number of confirmed cases in the mainland is 80,928 and the death toll has reached 3,245 as of the end of Wednesday, March 18. Fox News reported that 70,240 people have been released from hospitals and more than 7,200 are still being treated for Covid-19.
“Estimation of true case numbers — necessary to determine the severity per case — is challenging in the setting of an overwhelmed healthcare system that cannot ascertain cases effectively,” researchers wrote in the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, according to Newsweek. “Therefore…our approach has been to use a range of publicly available and recently published data sources…to build a picture of the full number of cases and deaths by age group.”
The findings, containing cases only from China, also revealed that “age is a key component for both symptomatic infection and fatality. The case fatality risk here was as 1.4 percent, which is lower than previously estimated, however this was largely associated with those aged above 59 years, which was five times greater than those aged between 30 and 59 years. This risk drops again for the under the 30s. There are multiple reasons that this observation may be true, but it seems that age is also pivotal for developing symptoms. Therefore, it is not just a matter that the young get ill and then recover.”
Although the number of cases has been dropping significantly in China, experts have said that in order to consider the Covid-19 outbreak over, there will need to be 14 consecutive days without new cases. The nation is also ordering a 14-day quarantine to everyone coming into Beijing, Shanghai, and other parts of the world. Ben Cowling, a professor at Hong Kong University’s School of Public Health told the New York Times, “It’s very clear that the actions taken in China have almost brought to an end their first wave of infections,” adding, “The question is what will happen if there’s a second wave because the kind of measures that China has implemented is not necessarily sustainable in the long term.”
Guidelines for Getting to Zero in the US
If you feel sick in any way or suspect you may have come into contact with someone carrying Covid-19, stay home and contact your medical provider to determine the next steps in monitoring your condition. Do not go directly to a medical facility without informing them about your condition; if you are Covid-19 positive, you may risk infecting other patients or medical personnel who are not wearing protective gear. Likewise, if your children are sick keep them at home and inform their medical provider.
If you or anyone in your household have tested positive already, stay home in a self-quarantine. Do NOT leave the house. Contact your medical provider for further guidance in monitoring or treating your condition.
If you are elderly, immunocompromised, or at risk for respiratory infections, stay home in self-quarantine as a way to protect yourself from becoming seriously or fatally ill.
As the number of cases mounts in the U.S., the latest guidelines we have received from the White House Coronavirus Task Force are as such:
- Work from home if possible.
- If you have kids, continue their education from home.
- Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people; recall, though, that it only takes one sick person — who may or may not be presenting symptoms of illness — to spread infection through contact with people, no matter the size of the gathering.
- Eliminate non-essential travel outside of the home, limiting your excursions to errands that you cannot complete remotely.
- Do not not visit facilities like nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or retirement centers unless you are providing critical care to a resident; your presence may expose people in these institutions to deadly infection.
- As of now, restaurants in many places are still open for business, but you can reduce the risk of spreading illness by opting for takeout, delivery, or drive-thru options.
- Continue practicing good hygiene by frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds, especially after touching or handling objects or items that may have been handled by someone else. Definitely wash your hands before eating.
- If you must sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue, handkerchief, or your elbow to reduce the risk of contamination around you.
Avoid touching your face, as the infection easily gains entry into your system through mucous membranes like your eyes, nose, and mouth.