Born in Wuhan: lessons from COVID-19 epidemic in China

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Abstract

The COVID-19 epidemic curve in China can be divided into several stages. Despite transparency in informing the world public about clusters of undiagnosed viral pneumonia, the country’s health care at the first stage of the epidemic was not ready to provide adequate and rapid response for a fast increase in the number of patients with COVID-19, infection control measures were not fully implemented, which also led to a large number of nosocomial cases of infection among medical workers and patients. Socially vulnerable groups of the population did not refer for medical assistance in a timely manner due to the lack of the disease danger understanding and also in connection with the high cost for them of medical aid. At the second stage, simultaneously with the restrictive measures introduced by the government, the entire health care system was rebooted: free medical care for patients with COVID-19 was provided and the strictest infection control measures were implemented, multi-level contact tracking system using IT technologies was organized, and the capacity of hospitals was increased many times. Through the joint efforts of ministries, mass media, social networks and volunteer movements, an unprecedented social mobilization of the population was achieved. Strict implementation of the entire set of measures aimed at fighting the epidemic allowed to take it under strict control at the third stage and practically eliminate the epidemic after 2,5 months. China’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic can be useful to other countries, in fighting the current pandemic and in preparing for a response to biological threats in the future.

About the authors

A. V. Semenov

St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute; Pavlov First St. Petersburg State Medical University

Author for correspondence.
Email: alexvsemenov@gmail.com
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3223-8219

Alexander V. Semenov – PhD (Biology), Deputy Director for Innovation, Head of the Laboratory of Virology and Immunology HIV, St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute; Professor, Department of Immunology, Pavlov First St. Petersburg State Medical University

197101, St. Petersburg, Mira str., 14
Phone: +7 (812) 233-20-92 

Russian Federation

N. Yu. Pshenichnaya

National Medical Research Center of Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases; Rostov State Medical University

Email: natalia-pshenichnaya@yandex.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2570-711X
PhD, MD (Medicine), Professor, Head of the Department of International Collaboration, National Research Medical Center of Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases, Moscow; Leading Researcher, Central Research Laboratory, Rostov State Medical University, Rostov-onDon Russian Federation

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Copyright (c) 2020 Semenov A.V., Pshenichnaya N.Y.

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