We distilled the WHO-China report down to 15 sentences and stripped away the useless politics

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The World Health Organization released the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) that documents the findings of the Joint Mission consisting of WHO experts and Chinese experts. It is filled with facts and figures. It’s also a wonderful exhibition of political sycophancy. As a public service, we’ve distilled it to its key sentences and stripped away the noise.

Here are the facts:

  • To achieve its goal, the Joint Mission gave particular focus to addressing key questions related to the natural history and severity of COVID-19, the transmission dynamics of the COVID-19 virus in different settings, and the impact of ongoing response measures in areas of high (community level), moderate (clusters) and low (sporadic cases or no cases) transmission.
  • Alignment of the full-length genome sequence of the COVID-19 virus and other available genomes of Betacoronavirus showed the closest relationship was with the bat SARS-like coronavirus strain BatCov RaTG13, identity 96%.
  • The cellular infectivity of the isolated viruses could be completely neutralized by the sera collected from convalescent patients.
  • Among 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases reported as of 20 February 2020, the median age is 51 years (range 2 days-100 years old; IQR 39-63 years old) with the majority of cases (77.8%) aged between 30–69 years.
  • COVID-19 is transmitted via droplets and fomites during close unprotected contact between an infector and infectee.
  • In China, human-to-human transmission of the COVID-19 virus is largely occurring in families.
  • Based on the epidemiologic characteristics observed so far in China, everyone is assumed to be susceptible, although there may be risk factors increasing susceptibility to infection.
  • Notwithstanding discrete and limited instances of nosocomial outbreaks (e.g. a nosocomial outbreak involving 15 HCW in Wuhan), transmission within health care settings and amongst health care workers does not appear to be a major transmission feature of COVID-19 in China.
  • From available data, and in the absence of results from serologic studies, it is not possible to determine the extent of infection among children, what role children play in transmission, whether children are less susceptible or if they present differently clinically (i.e. generally milder presentations).
  • Typical signs and symptoms include: fever (87.9%), dry cough (67.7%), fatigue (38.1%), sputum production (33.4%), shortness of breath (18.6%), sore throat (13.9%), headache (13.6%), myalgia or arthralgia (14.8%), chills (11.4%), nausea or vomiting (5.0%), nasal congestion (4.8%), diarrhea (3.7%), and hemoptysis (0.9%), and conjunctival congestion (0.8%).
  • Individuals at highest risk for severe disease and death include people aged over 60 years and those with underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer.
  • The overall CFR (Crude Fatality Ratio) varies by location and intensity of
    transmission (i.e. 5.8% in Wuhan vs. 0.7% in other areas in China).
  • From 3 January 2020, information on COVID-19 cases has been reported to WHO daily.
  • COVID-19 was included in the statutory report of Class B infectious diseases and border health quarantine infectious diseases on 20 January 2020, which marked the transition from the initial partial control approach to the comprehensive adoption of various control measures in accordance with the law.
  • Recognize that COVID-19 is a new and concerning disease, but that outbreaks
    can managed with the right response and that the vast majority of infected
    people will recover.

That’s the gist of it.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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