Early warning, TCM key to keeping China's COVID deaths low

Updated: Feb 28, 2023 Print
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People queue up to get decoctions for COVID-19 prevention and control at Gansu Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Lanzhou, Northwest China's Gansu province, Oct 23, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The combination of an early warning system for severe cases of COVID-19 and the use of traditional Chinese medicine has helped keep the number of COVID deaths per capita in China the lowest globally, a National Health Commission official said on Monday.

Guo Yanhong, director of the commission's health emergency division, said that China has introduced 10 COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment plans and four plans for COVID patients in critical condition. The evolving plans served as indicators of a possible worsening of cases permitting doctors to intervene earlier, and employ TCM treatment.

"The plans were adjusted according to increasing knowledge of the virus," Guo told a news conference in Beijing.

She said the plans represent increasing understanding of the virus, including its symptoms, virulence and modes of transmission. More recent plans have advocated a number of effective treatments, such as blood plasma extracts taken from patients that have recovered, and newly approved antiviral drugs.

The change to plans also reflects the decreasing virulence of the virus. For example, all COVID patients needed to be treated in isolation early in the pandemic when the more lethal strains were dominant, but as it becomes less lethal, patients were able to recover at home, she added.

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