The former head of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, tweeted Monday that the number of coronavirus cases in China could have been cut by as much as 95 percent if Beijing had acted earlier, citing a study published in March.
Scott Gottlieb, MD✔@ScottGottliebMD
What if China was candid about #coronavirus, and intervened earlier? Some empiric insights: If they acted 1, 2, or 3 weeks earlier, cases could have been cut by 66%, 86%, and 95%, respectively; together with significantly reducing number of affected areas. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.03.20029843v3 …Effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions for containing the COVID-19 outbreak in ChinaBackground: The COVID-19 outbreak containment strategies in China based on non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) appear to be effective. Quantitative research is still needed however to assess the…medrxiv.org1,356Twitter Ads info and privacy701 people are talking about this
The research, which was posted on the medrxiv repository and has not yet been peer-reviewed, highlighted the need for fast interventions and quick government response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China.
The outbreak has now become a pandemic, affecting more than 1.9 million around the globe and impacting 185 countries. According to a report published in LiveScience, the first case could be traced back to November 2019.
China has come under scrutiny from many U.S. lawmakers, including both Republicans and Democrats, who say that the country has been publishing unreliable data. On Tuesday, China reported an additional 143 coronavirus cases, including 54 asymptomatic cases, a figure it started publishing only recently.
“The research also found that if interventions in the country could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively – significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease,” researchers from the University of Southhampton wrote in the March statement.
The researchers added that if [non-pharmaceutical interventions] came later than they did by the same number of weeks, “the number of cases may have shown a 3-fold, 7-fold, or 18-fold increase, respectively.”
One of the study’s co-authors, Andy Tatem, said the window to respond to COVID-19 is narrow, highlighting the need to act quickly.
“We have a narrow window of opportunity globally to respond to this disease and given effective drugs and vaccines are not expected for months, we need to be smart about how we target it using non-drug-related interventions,” Tatem said at the time. “Our findings significantly contribute to an improved understanding of how best to implement measures and tailor them to conditions in different regions of the world.”
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The researchers also noted that strongly heeded advice from public health officials, such as social distancing, help reduce the number of cases.
“Our study demonstrates how important it is for countries which are facing an imminent outbreak to proactively plan a coordinated response which swiftly tackles the spread of the disease on a number of fronts,” the study’s lead author, Shengjie Lai, added at the time. “We also show that China’s comprehensive response, in a relatively short period, greatly reduced the potential health impact of the outbreak.”
As of Tuesday morning, more than 1.93 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, including more than 582,000 in the U.S., the most impacted country on the planet.
Fox News has reached out to the Chinese embassy in Washington D.C with a request for comment for this story.