Pandemic likely to ease in October: expert

Ke Jiayun
Local medical expert said the coronavirus has a chance of reaching a low ebb in autumn.
Ke Jiayun

A local infectious disease expert said yesterday that there was no time frame when the coronavirus pandemic would end but did add that it could likely ebb around autumn.

Zhang Wenhong of Huashan Hospital made the claim during the second COVID-19 multidisciplinary forum, which was held online with experts from home and abroad.

Besides Zhang, the forum included Li Lanjuan, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Weng Xinhua, a tenured professor at Fudan University’s Huashan Hospital, Ge Junbo, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lu Shan, a tenured medical professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lu Mengji, a virologist at University of Duisburg-Essen and Jin Dongyan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong.

On the question of whether the disease will tail off in the summer as temperatures rise, there was no agreement among the panelists.

“The most beautiful season of the year might be autumn as there’s a possibility that the virus might ebb in October,” said Zhang. “But after that, it will persist for a long time.”

Lu Shan said it didn’t make sense to discuss how long the pandemic would continue. “The wisest person will take measures as the virus changes.”

Lu Shan said that it’s critical to concentrate on patients with light symptoms, who account for about 80 percent of the cases. Governments should try their best to quarantine patients to curb the disease, and never allow the medical system to be overwhelmed.

Jin Dongyan said there’s a 30 to 40 percent probability that the pandemic can be controlled within a year but worried that it will spread all over the world.

Jin said the general infection is seasonal to a degree but for COVID-19, it’s still unclear. Countries like Malaysia and Singapore did not struggle with big outbreaks but more research was required.

Zhang said it was safe to resume business and production in China. But since the epidemic was not under control overseas, it was important to ensure the security of domestic firms. 

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