China, Doctor Salim discussed on Balance of Power


We return now to the core of our story at least eight people are dead and tens of millions are on lockdown in China as authorities they're trying to get their arms around a rapidly growing epidemic welcome now doctor Salim calendar she is clinical assistant professor in the department medicine at NYU Dr grounder produces and hosts American diagnoses that's a podcast on health and social justice so welcome doctors good to have you here thank you we got a lot of course with the Chinese authorities are doing really locking down tens of millions of people over there check the area airports are they doing enough to their two key developments from over the weekend that I think will help us answer that question so one of which it would appear that the dot the virus was already spreading even as early as October at least in November so that means the virus is spreading undetected and so we're really only detecting it now because we're looking for we have tests for it that didn't really emerge until the end of December so that's one key issue the other key development is that it would seem that sometimes the virus may be transmitting by people who do not have symptoms at all and that has yet to be confirmed by the CDC but if you can't figure out who's infected and who might be transmitting it's very difficult to contain this at the same time there seems to be I won't call panic but a lot of concern in China areas got masks on is there a risk here of actually making people and being counterproductive every flocking into healthcare centers immediately well the history has shown that travel bans and quarantines don't usually work with never done anything on this scale before quarantines in the case of the bowl or very specific actually to this specific patient who had symptoms who is being diagnosed and manage but when you're doing this kind of population level quarantine it has not been shown to work it basically tries as you said mass panic and also as a a consequence of all of this you're already seeing shortages of food and medical supplies we've seen videos of Chinese women in grocery stores you know if you can get out literally to buy produce and some of that may actually be even more dangerous have we learned from earlier epidemics I guess sars is the one we automatically think of because it was a corona virus right was another do we learn some in there about what does work and what doesn't work in trying to contain this or does it just have to burn its way out so if this is not transmitted by people without symptoms then the same strategies we used for prior coronaviruses like sars as well as free polo which is basically what are the symptoms getting tested if you're contagious you know having them be hospitalized until they're outside of that window that works anyone in your also tracing contacts of people who've been in contact with them but if people who don't have symptoms are transmitting that's a game changer the general doctor Salim the Gondor she's from NYU what treatments are like effective limited exceeded everyone on the new talks about exceed as I said we still have one for sars we still don't have one for sars the hope is that we might have using sort of the basis of of sars vaccine candidates using those as candidates for a corona virus vaccine that would work here maybe we could have those in clinical trials by June but you're still looking at some time after that and as others are predicting right now that based on modeling of the disease transmission we may be looking at this disease peaking in April or may so we know well before you would have a vaccine candidates you know a lot of people could die in that time other other treatments that stop short of a vaccine to cure some of it is please come miglior a sort of the symptoms for example Tama flew we hear a lot about I mean there's no there's no particular reason to think Tama flew at work here it's an entirely different kind of virus in general when you have somebody who is a viral pneumonia and a lot of things can cause that including the flu actually a lot of what you do is actually supported measures that might be having somebody on a ventilator for example to help them support their breathing until they get better but to do that with millions of people across China that's not going to be feasible is the international medical community doing enough WHO's walked up to the question whether is a global health crisis said no it's a Chinese health crisis not yet globally as a more the WHL could be doing CC other authorities around the world so the declaration of a public health emergency is both a medical technical decision as well as an economic and political decision we've already seen the stock market take a hit you know even here as a result of this and you know the Chinese economy takes a real hit that's gonna cause tremendous harm as well especially to the poor in the countryside not to mention the rest of us so I you know I think part of the reason you're seeing such draconian measures and in China is one that that's just how their government tends to function that tends to be their instincts but also it may be to head off a public health emergency being declared and will even more restrictive measures being taken by other countries on the outside two critical questions I think that most lay people have which is how communicable is it how is it is a catch it and numbers without it what's the chance if I get it that I will die so the current estimates are that for every person who has the disease they will transmit to about two other people a bad number a good number I can on the same level as the flu in in terms of legality we're seeing probably about three percent of people who are infected dying from this to give that some context it's about ten times higher than the flu but sars was ten percent of people who got the infection died so it's not as lethal as sars per person infected but if you have many people infected many more than have the sars then you could actually see total more deaths as a result of sort of you know the percentage times the total number so it really you know we we want to focus also on containment and making sure not to be too many people are affected so finally Dr as we go forward there's a lot of things we don't know a lot of questions open as you look at things what we'd be looking at what the factors are saying I'm really good paying attention that or those two things to figure out whether this really expensive very dramatic way or can be contained I think this question of can a symptomatic people transmit the virus I think that's going to be key because the things that we normally do to contain an outbreak like this may not be so effective if people without symptoms can transmit as a thank you so much for being with us doctor really helpful the sector Salim Gounder she's NYU clinical assistant professor in the department of medicine coming up with.

Coming up next