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Coronavirus infection: what doctors who treat Covid-19 in Wuhan say about coronavirus | World News


BEIJING: As the new coronavirus epidemic spreads throughout the world, experts are turning to the findings of China, where it originated, to better understand the disease. Since January, doctors at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan have been studying the virus whose effects are mostly mild, but can sometimes be fatal.

Medical professionals who have been treating and studying Covid-19 patients in Wuhan shared their ideas with reporters in Beijing on Wednesday. Here are three observations of doctors.

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Incubation and transmission

Anecdotal reports that the new coronavirus may have a long incubation have fueled fears that carriers may go unnoticed and infect others without knowing it.

Local authorities in another city of Hubei, the same province to which Wuhan belongs, reported on February 22 that a 70-year-old man was infected by the virus, but only showed symptoms 27 days later.

“In most publications at this time, the average incubation period is five to seven days, with the longest incubation period of 14 days,” said Du Bin, a member of the China team of experts who oversees the treatment of the coronavirus.

“There are no data to show that there has been an incubation period of more than 14 days.”

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In some patients, the onset of the virus occurred very slowly with only a mild fever before its conditions deteriorated rapidly 10 days later, according to Li Haichao, deputy director of the respiratory department of the First Hospital of Peking University.

There is also no evidence so far that people who have recovered and then tested positive for the virus can transmit it to others, according to Du, who is also the director of the intensive care unit for internal medicine at the Hospital of the Peking Union Medical University.

On Thursday, Chinese media The Paper reported that a man in Wuhan who had recovered from Covid-19 and was negative for the virus died less than a week after the infection. The report was later removed from the internet.

Younger deaths

Coronavirus has a relatively low mortality rate and has largely claimed the lives of older patients with weaker immune systems, or those with pre-existing conditions. The deaths of some younger patients have been more difficult to explain.

Underlying diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, prolonged use of non-invasive ventilation and high doses of corticosteroids over a long period of time were important factors in those deaths, according to Du. He did not specify the age range he was referring to when talking about younger patients.

Methylprednisolone, an immunosuppressive corticosteroid that is commonly used in China for severe cases, has been linked to “prolonged viral elimination” in previous studies of MERS, SARS and influenza, according to the World Health Organization.

Learned lessons

Du said that if he could do it again, he would have put more pressure on health care authorities so that all ICU staff work together in designated hospitals to better establish best practices for critical care.

It would also have been more aggressive when using invasive mechanical ventilation in all patients who showed “clinical deterioration” in their respiratory failure or low blood oxygen levels, which is known as hypoxemia.

Planning is the most important aspect of the response to the virus, according to Du, and countries should know in advance how they will handle each patient entering a fever clinic, detect suspected cases, confirm if they have the virus in laboratories and isolate it. possible cases

“You must have a plan to provide not only space but also supplies such as personal protective equipment for all health workers involved,” he said.

Du said it is true that there is a decreasing number of patients in Hubei and more empty hospital beds, although it is impossible to rule out the possibility of another peak in cases.

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