What's The Meaning of China's Dramatic Drop in COVID-19 Cases? - Bio-Defense Network
Mar 2020

What’s The Meaning of China’s Dramatic Drop in COVID-19 Cases?

The Washington Post asked Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch to answer whether the reported drop in COVID-19 cases in China was a good sign that the pandemic may be coming to an end there.

Unfortunately, he says China’s very low infection rate came at a very heavy cost, and might not last.

“The Chinese epidemic has been temporarily controlled by extreme social distancing measures,” Lipsitch told The Washington Post. The country undertook a number of steps: entire cities locked down; tens of millions of people confined to their homes; checkpoints, padlocks on doors and enforcers with red arm bands making sure no one walks past their front gate without a pass. The draconian measures appear to have devastated China’s economy.

“The total size of the epidemic in China has indeed been a small proportion of the population so far (although more than the reported numbers because not everyone was tested),” Lipsitch said. “The problem is that either China keeps those kinds of control measures in place (economically and socially disruptive) or releases these and the infection begins to spread again.

“So the long-term projections [for worldwide infection] (which I believe are more accurately 20-60 percent based on the latest data) are valid,” he concluded, “because these proportions of people must be infected and immune before spread can be controlled without intense social distancing.”

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