…WHO wary, says report gives clearer picture of epidemic
…NCDC debunks rumour, coronavirus not spread through broiler chickens
By Sola Ogundipe
Chinese health authorities have been given a sliver of hope after a large study carried out by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of new COVID-19 infections appear to be falling.
The development that has prompted guarded optimism from health authorities.
It also found more than 80 per cent of the 45,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus it studied were mild, 14 per cent had severe symptoms such as pneumonia and 5 per cent had critical symptoms.
The sick and elderly were most at risk and medical staff are at high risk, the report found. Men were more likely to die, with a 2.8 per cent mortality rate, while women had a 1.7 per cent chance of dying.
WHO expresses cautious optimism
The number of deaths was down slightly from fatalities reported the day before. However, the World Health Organisation, WHO, was cautious. According to the Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, it was too early to know if the reported decline would continue.
“Every scenario is still on the table,” he said, adding that the report gives the WHO a “clearer picture of the outbreak, how it’s developing and where it’s headed”.
A total of 72,438 confirmed cases had been reported in mainland China as of Tuesday, an increase of 1,890 from the day before but the first time since the end of January the daily case number fell below 2,000.
The drop follows a large spike last week attributed to Hubei province, where the virus originated, starting to count cases by doctors’ diagnoses without waiting for laboratory test results.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Tedros said over the past 24 hours, there had been 110 new cases outside China, including 99 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
“We have now had cases of COVID-19 outside China for more than a month. We are supporting national authorities in every country that has cases to track the virus and understand how people were infected. So far there are 92 cases in 12 countries outside China of human-to-human transmission.
“At the moment we don’t have enough data on cases outside China to make a meaningful comparison on the severity of disease or the case fatality rate. We’re following up with countries to get more information about what happens about each case and the outcome.”
He said there had not been sustained local transmission, except in specific circumstances like the Diamond Princess cruise ship and confirmed that supplies of personal protective equipment had been shipped to 21 countries, with another 106 expecting in the coming weeks.
“By the end of this week, 40 countries in Africa and 29 in the Americas are due to have the ability to detect COVID-19,” he said.
NCDC debunks rumour that coronavirus spread through broiler chickens
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Center for Diseases Control, NCDC has debunked a rumour that the coronavirus is spread through broiler chickens.
Debunking the rumour on the NCDC twitter handle, the Director-General of the Agency, Dr Chikwe Ihekwaeze said: “The NCDC is aware of a rumour being shared on social media that COVID-19 is spread through broiler chickens.
“This is FALSE. The public is advised to disregard this rumour. Scientists are working to discover the animal source of COVID-19. There’s no link to broiler chickens,”