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Report offers insight into China’s COVID-19 response

Updated: Apr 21, 2020 By Zhang Zhihao chinadaily.com.cn Print
A recovering pneumonia patient gives a thumbs-up to medical workers at Wuhan University's Zhongnan Hospital, on Jan 30, 2020. [Photo by Gao Xiang/For China Daily]

Mao echoed Chen's assessment, adding that China's low death rate is also the result of abundant medical staff and senior doctors across different medical fields working in unison. All these factors combined lowered the death rate of severely ill patients at her wards to around 3 percent, she said.

At Tongji Hospital's Zhongfa Xincheng branch in Wuhan, where Mao was on deputation, there were about 40 doctors and over 100 nurses taking care of 100 patients, she said. "The high staff-to-patient ratio meant doctors could have enough energy and time to treat each patient carefully, and this greatly improved the cure rate."

Having a multidisciplinary team of medical experts is "absolutely critical in lowering the death rate for severely-ill patients given how the virus, as well as treatments for it, can impact so many parts of the body simultaneously," she said.

"Many patients died not directly because of the virus, but due to other underlying health problems," she said. "Having respiratory doctors is not enough, you need a multidisciplinary team that can fully monitor every major organ, and make sound judgments on how the disease and treatment will impact the body and act accordingly."

As for logistics, Mao said she received medical supplies from Beijing in less than 16 hours. "This incredible logistical efficacy is what allowed us to save more lives," she said. "It takes a whole-of-society effort to achieve a shipping speed that can outrun death.

"If foreign media and politicians question the authenticity of our low casualty figures, they should ask themselves: have they gone to the extent that China did in supporting their doctors and patients?"

Wang Xiaodong contributed to this story.

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