Coronavirus lockdown won Wuhan health systems crucial response time, study shows

The foreclosure of the Chinese city of Wuhan, an epidemic, has brought an end to the COVID-19 epidemic, which has given health systems crucial leeway to deal with severe cases, news reports said on Thursday research.

Chinese authorities ordered schools, universities and businesses closed following a series of COVID-19 cases in the transport center in January, confining millions to their homes for the purpose of to contain the epidemic.

These measures have reduced the number of new cases and parts of Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located, have slowly started to return to normal.

With about three billion people advised to stay at home during the pandemic, a study published in The Lancet Public Health looked at what the rest of the world can learn from Wuhan.

Researchers have developed a model to estimate the impact of school and business closings on COVID-19 transmission rates, using data on the frequency of interactions and location.

Three distinct scenarios

The Wuhan epidemic came at the worst possible time – on the eve of the Lunar New Year, when tens of millions of Chinese people are moving to celebrate with their families.

The study compared three distinct scenarios: no intervention and no vacation travel; no physical distance and normal vacation travel; and school closings with only key workers at work.

They found that the intervention in the form of school and business closings had a significant impact on reducing new cases, purchasing vital time from health systems to deal with the surge in cases.

The team also predicted the impact of the lifting of control measures. Their models suggested that waiting until April to lift social distance would reduce the total number of infections by a quarter.

It would also delay a second peak of the virus from August to October, which would save health workers time.

“The unprecedented measures that the city of Wuhan has put in place to reduce social contact at school and the workplace have helped to control the epidemic,” said lead author Kiesha Prem of the London School. of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“However, the city must now be very careful to avoid lifting physical distancing measures prematurely, as this could lead to a secondary peak earlier in some cases. But if they gradually loosen the restrictions, it could delay and flatten the peak. ” “

Commenting on the research, James Gill, honorary clinical professor at Warwick Medical School, said it had “far-reaching” implications for countries seeking to learn from China’s COVID-19 response.

He said the study showed the “flattening of the curve” sought, as well as the reduction in the total number of cumulative infections, while also demonstrating a delay of two months in the peak of the epidemic “.

“Avoid the new waves”

A study by the British Imperial College this month showed that the number of COVID-19 cases could be brought under control through extreme social distancing measures, but was likely to rebound once these restrictions were relaxed.

Yang Liu, co-author of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Lancet study, said it was unlikely that Wuhan’s example would be replicated exactly elsewhere.

“But we think one thing probably applies everywhere: physical distance measurements are very useful, and we have to adjust their lifting carefully to avoid further waves of infection when workers and schoolchildren resume their normal routine,” did he declare.

“If these waves come too quickly, it could overwhelm health systems.”

(AFP)