COVID-19: April 4 is a day of mourning in China, April 8 an end of Wuhan lock-down

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Dr. Daniel Lucey

The following is a guest post by Daniel Lucey, M.D. MPH, FIDSA, FACP

Dr. Daniel Lucey, who has responded to, and monitored information on outbreaks since 2001, has provided a series of updates and analysis on what is now the COVID-19 pandemic in Science Speaks posts since Jan. 6, first published Jan. 7. This is his 19th update on questions raised by the continued spread of, and responses to the virus that causes COVID-19.

Today in China was a national Day of Mourning for the COVID-19 epidemic.  A story in the April 4 (“4/4”) South China Morning Post reported that three minutes of silence were observed at 10 a.m. across China.  Flags were flown at half-mast in China and overseas embassies. Today’s event was also part of the annual “Ching Ming” or tomb-sweeping tradition to show reverence for dead relatives and other lost ones.

Next Wednesday, April 8, Wuhan will be taken off the 76-day lock-down that began Jan. 23 at 10 a.m., just before the Lunar New Year started.

A description of how the original decision was made to initiate the lock-down, and also the decision to announce on Jan. 20 (by Professor Zhong Nanshan) that person-to-person transmission had been occurring in Hubei province, can be found in an article April 2 in the SCMP.

Why does this ending of the Jan. 23-to-April 8 lock-down in Wuhan after 11 weeks matter? The United States and other nations around the world will watch closely what happens after lock-down ends for multiple reasons. Three of the these reasons are: (1) To see if there is a resurgence of infections in Wuhan or linked to Wuhan elsewhere in China or outside China; (2) To see what, if any, is the risk of reinfection of persons who are hoped to be “immune survivors” protected from re-infection? (3) To see if there will be symptomatic infections, in addition to the recently disclosed almost-exclusively asymptomatic infections in Wuhan.

Daniel Lucey, M.D. MPH, FIDSA, FACP, is an infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center, a senior scholar at the Georgetown University O’Neil Institute, Anthropology Research Associate, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Global Health Committee.He has served as a volunteer medical responder to outbreaks that included the West Africa Ebola crisis. He has collected information on outbreaks starting in 2001 with cases of anthrax in 2001, and including smallpox vaccination 2002, SARS 2003, H5N1 Flu 2004, MERS in 2013, and Ebola in April, 2014, He has gathered, and  updated information on the spread of the coronavirus Jan. 6.


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