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The ground reality of coronavirus in China: What the WHO has found?

The report noted that the younger you are, the less likely you are to be infected and the less likely you are to fall seriously ill if you do get infected

BS Web Team 

coronavirus
The most common symptoms found among the infected are fever, and dry cough, exhaustion, expectoration of mucus when coughing, shortness of breath, and several others

The highly infectious disease (Covid-19) is spreading very fast and has caused 3,164 deaths across the world so far, and there have been over 92,000 confirmed cases. In India, the total number of confirmed cases rose to 21 on Tuesday.

Recently, the sent a team of international experts to China to investigate the ground realities in the country where the outbreak first began before spreading globally. Here are some important facts that the team found out:

Spread of the virus: Contrary to the popular opinion, transmission of virus through the air over long distances is not one of the main causes of spread. Most of the infected were either infected at home or in the early phase of the outbreak in Wuhan when most hospitals are unaware about the disease. Around 78-85 per cent cases were caused by an infection within the family by droplets and other carriers of infection in close contact with an infected person.

Symptoms: The most common symptoms found among the infected are fever, and dry cough, exhaustion, expectoration of mucus when coughing, shortness of breath, and several others. deaths are strongly influenced by age, pre-existing conditions, gender, and especially the response of the health care system.

Healthcare facilities: The findings by the WHO team revealed some disturbing facts about the healthcare system in China and other countries. 20 per cent of infected people in China needed hospital treatment for weeks. China has hospital beds to treat only 0.4 per cent of the population at the same time - other developed countries have between 0.1 per cent and 1.3 per cent and most of these beds are already occupied with people who have other diseases.

Susceptibility: Persons with pre-existing medical conditions are prone to fall ill more often than others. The fatality rate for those infected with pre-existing cardiovascular disease in China was 13.2 per cent. It was 9.2 per cent for those infected with high blood sugar levels (uncontrolled diabetes), 8.4 per cent for high blood pressure, 8 per cent for chronic respiratory diseases and 7.6 per cent for cancer.

Age factor: The report noted that the younger you are, the less likely you are to be infected and the less likely you are to fall seriously ill if you do get infected. Of the total number of infected in China, only 8.1 per cent of them are between 20 and 29 years old. And of those who caught the infection in this age group, 0.2 per cent died.

Age % of population % of infected Fatality
0-9 12.0% 0.9% 0 as of now
10-19 11.6% 1.2% 0.1%
20-29 13.5% 8.1% 0.2%
30-39 15.6% 17.0% 0.2%
40-49 15.6% 19.2% 0.4%
50-59 15.0% 22.4% 1.3%
60-69 10.4% 19.2% 3.6%
70-79 4.7% 8.8% 8.0%
80+ 1.8% 3.2% 14.8%

Gender factor: In case of gender, women catch the disease just as often as men. But only 2.8 per cent of Chinese women who were infected died from the disease, while 4.7 per cent of the infected men died. The disease appears to be not more severe in pregnant women than in others.

China's efforts: Since the end of January, the number of new diagnoses in China has been steadily declining. "This decline in cases across China is real," says the report.

The WHO team has praised China's bold approach and efforts to contain the rapid spread of the virus.

"China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic," the report noted

First Published: Wed, March 04 2020. 11:19 IST
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