Doctors from the University of Hong Kong warn that governments should implement “draconian measures” to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The doctors estimate that at least 44,000 people may have been infected in Wuhan alone.
“The question is not whether or not to do more. The question really is, how can we make sure that it is feasible, implementable and enforceable,” Dr. Gabriel Leung, University of Hong Kong’s dean of the medical school told reporters, according to a report by RTHK in Hong Kong.
Dr. Leung said he estimates the outbreak in mainland China should peak in April or May and could subside gradually in June and July. He urged cities to immediately take “substantial draconian measures” to limit population mobility in the hardest-hit areas like Chongqing. He identified this region due to its transportation links to Hubei province, the location of Wuhan — the virus’s epicenter. He also identified Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen as regions where the virus could peak in late spring.
Leung said he and his team believe that about 44,000 people in Wuhan alone may be infected with the virus. Of those, about 25,000 would now likely be sick while the others are still in the incubation period.
The official count of confirmed cases in China stands at nearly 2,800 as of the time of the RTHK article. The virus has currently spread to about a dozen countries leading the University of Hong Kong doctors to predict that a global epidemic could be imminent.
Leung said the number of people catching the virus appears to be doubling about every six days, the article states.
Over the weekend, China’s National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei shocked the world when he told reporters the virus is contagious during the incubation period — before patients exhibit symptoms of illness, Breitbart News reported.
Dr. William Schaffner, an advisor to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN, “This is a game changer.”
“It means the infection is much more contagious than we originally thought,” Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, explained. “This is worse than we anticipated.”