The number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases now number in excess of 75,000, whilst COVID-19 deaths have crossed the 2,000 mark.
At the time of writing, there have been 75,312 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 58,240 are active. COVID-19 deaths number at 2,012, whilst 15,060 infected individuals have recovered. Of the 58,240 remaining COVID-19 patients, 46,184 are in mild condition and 12,056 are in serious or critical condition.
No new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in India. The three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country hitherto, all reported in the state of Kerala, are of individuals who have recovered.
The rise in COVID-19 deaths, which outnumber those due to prior outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), belies the fact that the pace of the outbreak is slowing according to Chinese authorities. This includes Chinese president Xi Jinping himself.
The state-run Xinhua News Agency reports that, in a phone call between Xi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Xi told Johnson that “China’s measures to prevent and control the COVID-19 epidemic are achieving visible progress…since the outbreak, China has always prioritised its people’s safety and health, given full play to its institutional advantages, mobilised the entire country, and adopted the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures.” As a result, Xi reportedly said, “the situation is witnessing positive changes.”
Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the Health Emergencies Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO), has indicated support of China’s approach. “Right now, the strategic and tactical approach in China is the correct one,” he said. “You can argue whether these measures are excessive or restrictive on people, but there is an awful lot at stake here in terms of public health—not only the public health of China but of all people in the world.”
However, others have urged caution. Of the reported slowdown, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier this week that “this trend must be interpreted very cautiously. Trends can change as new populations are affected. It’s too early to tell if this reported decline will continue. Every scenario is still on the table.”
Of the disease, Tedros outlined that “in about fourteen percent of cases, the virus causes severe diseases including pneumonia and shortness of breath. And about five percent of patients have critical diseases including respiratory failure, septic shock and multiorgan failure. In two percent of reported cases, the virus is fatal, and the risk of death increases the older you are. We see relatively few cases among children. More research is needed to understand why.”