Shanghai health authorities share knowledge with peers in Texas

Wu Ruofan
During an online symposium, local experts stressed the importance of broad-based mobilization and moving quickly to find and treat infection cases.
Wu Ruofan
Shot by Hu Jun. Edited by Zhong Youyang. Subtitles by Wang Xinzhou and Andy Boreham.
Shanghai health authorities share knowledge with peers in Texas
Hu Jun / SHINE

Dr Zhang Wenhong (left) and Dr Wu Fan, medics from the city's coronavirus treatment team, attend the Shanghai-Texas Symposium on COVID-19.

Health experts in Shanghai spoke with their American counterparts in Houston on ways to fight COVID-19 during an online symposium held on Wednesday evening.

Dr Zhang Wenhong and Dr Wu Fan from Shanghai's expert coronavirus treatment team shared their knowledge with officials in Harris County, located in Houston, Texas, the third-largest county in the US with over 4.7 million residents.

Zhang, director of the Department of Infectious Disease at Huashan Hospital affiliated with Fudan University and head of Shanghai's COVID-19 treatment team, said that this is a special time for both China and the US to take responsibility for controlling the virus.

“Both professionals and citizens should share information together. This is not even the beginning of the end, but the beginning of the beginning,” he said.

Houston currently has 3,907 confirmed cases and 52 fatalities, while Harris County specifically has over 2,000 cases.

According to Umair Shah and David Persse from the Harris County Public Health, their organization is setting up a medical shelter to compress the number of people using health-care systems.

Wu, associate dean of Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, shared China’s lessons learned since the outbreak of the virus, including a national-level response model for emergencies.

She stressed the importance of society-wide efforts and multi-sectoral cooperation.

Zhang summarized Shanghai’s strategy as “test all, trace all, admit all,” which includes detection of suspected cases, epidemiology investigation and shelter hospitals for isolation.

“Find every case, find their contacts, quarantine and treat them as fast as you can,” he said.

Also discussed were questions such as the criteria for resuming work and the importance of facial masks.

Wu said community opening should depend on the stage of infection, the clearance of community transmission, the control of imported cases and maintaining of social distancing.

Zhang remarked that wearing masks has been key to strengthening social distancing measures in China.

When being asked when communities in the US will open again, Texas experts said that it will depend on different factors.

“Most of our neighbourhoods are expected to gradually reopen at the end of April currently. We have to be cautious about the rebound of infected cases and the next step of measures we should take,” replied one of the experts.

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