Top virus doctor talks to worried Chinese abroad

Ke Jiayun
Zhang Wenhong was invited to answer the questions that Chinese students, exchange scholars and Chinese American living in the U.S. most worry about in a live connection of CCTV.
Ke Jiayun

When a region’s tipping point of the novel coronavirus disease will come depends on the emergency measures it takes, said the head of Shanghai’s medical team fighting the virus, Dr Zhang Wenhong.

Zhang is a leading infectious disease expert at Huashan Hospital and was invited to answer questions from Chinese students, exchange scholars and Chinese-Americans living in the United States in a live connection on China Central Television.

In the US, about 70,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus and deaths is about 1,050.

The World Health Organization said the US could become the next epicenter of the global pandemic.

Zhang said if a place has enforced strict emergency measures such as home isolation and social distancing, the number of new cases can fall after about 14 days.

Le Taowen, an overseas Chinese in Salt Lake City, Utah, asked why the rate of young people’s infection is higher in the US than in China.

Zhang said unlike in China, where it mainly spreads among family members, the young in the US have lots of social activities where they have close contact with others.

Wu Qiuxiang, an exchange student of Renmin University of China who is now in New York, said that many of his fellows believe it’s risky to see a doctor and avoid going to the hospital. Instead, they prefer taking medicine at home first.

Zhang said many coronavirus patients can recover through self-healing.

The best things are to relax, drink more water, eat well and get plenty of sleep.

But around 10 to 20 percent of patients are critical and need oxygen and hospitalization. About 5 percent will die if they do not get to hospital on time.

Another student, Ma Zhiyao in Los Angeles, mentioned some Chinese students in the US decide to return home.

Zhang told the students there to think about whether they have things to do in the US.

For those whose health insurance there doesn’t cover much and have nothing to do, they can return to China.

But they have to complete forms and go into 14 days of quarantine after returning.

For those staying put, he said, the US has enough medical supplies and is capable of producing more to meet demand, Zhang said.

Almost 400,000 Chinese are studying in the US. Anyone returning must go into a compulsory 14-day quarantine.

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