Contagion: The situation in China
- Currently, Hubei province and Wuhan city are still in total quarantine. Drastic measures are taken by the Chinese government to stop the ongoing epidemic. According to official data, it seems to have an effect.
- In Wuhan, officials began to search for sick people in each house; those who are not seriously infected are transferred to huge improvised centers where they are placed in quarantine and receive needed assistance, but these improvised centers are having a shortage of staff and equipment as well as problems with their heating system. This is a huge issue as China is still in the winter season.
- It seems that the province of Hubei and the city of Wuhan are somehow “sacrificed” to contain the contagion and limit the epidemic within the region to save the rest of China. In the city, the death rate is 4%; this is doubled compared to the rest of the nation, where it stands at 0.17%.
- It is less drastic in other regions of China, but significant measures are still undertaken. In Beijing, for example, gatherings of people, such as the celebration of events like weddings and birthday parties, are prohibited. People are obliged to stay at home to prevent the spread of infection.
- With all these drastic prevention and containment measures put in place, the number of infected people daily no longer rises with the previous speed.
Contagion: The situation of the rest of the world
- Beyond China, the countries currently most affected by the infection are Asian countries like Japan and Thailand. In particular, 100 cases have already occurred in Japan.
- The situations of the three cruise ships, which had passengers suspected of being positive of the coronavirus, are under quarantine as further contagion cases have occurred on board. It will be necessary to wait 14 days from the last case in each ship to decree the end of the quarantine for all passengers on board.
- Although many cases of contagion have occurred, the mortality and criticality of the cases seem to be much lower as compared to China. In this regard, please refer to the dedicated in-depth article.
The situation in Italy: The infections
- So far, 3 official cases of infections have been recorded in Italy. All of them are currently hospitalized at the Spallanzani Institute in Rome. Two of them are Chinese, whose conditions are still considered critical although stable; they are hospitalized in the resuscitation area and have undergone experimental therapies with typical drugs that are also used for other viruses. It appears that these therapies have a moderate effect.
- The third case is an Italian who came from China who manifested the infection during the quarantine after his return to Italy. His conditions are not of particular concern.
The situation in Italy: Prevention measures
- The state of emergency decreed by the government last week has allowed for the preparation of extraordinary measures to deal with the emergency: the Red Cross and civil protection have been mobilized to adequately supervise the airports and to allow the measurement of body temperature with thermal scanners that have been assigned in equipment.
- Extraordinary preparation measures have also been implemented for healthcare personnel to be well prepared in case the crisis gets worse.
- The opportunity to participate in coronavirus prevention activities has also been extended to general practitioners in training, with a special provision.
On the therapeutic side, it seems that a vaccine will be developed in the near future. Encouraging results have been recorded. Various teams are working with experimental therapies that mainly involve antiviral mixes with the result of being able to block the virus in the replication phase.
Marco De Nardin, M. D.