Coronavirus: what the 25 WHO experts in China have discovered on contagion and containment (and that no one is telling us)

Everything that the 25 experts sent to China by the WHO have discovered about Coronavirus and that the media are not telling us.

Don't store avocado like this: it's dangerous

The virus, the epidemic, transmission and its progression: the World Health Organization has sent a team of 25 international experts to China to investigate Covid-19 and here are the main results that - after 10 days - you still do not have read.

What everyone knows by now is that the Coronavirus is transmitted through droplets of saliva only following close contact with an infected person and that, being a newly identified pathogen, there is no known pre-existing immunity in humans.

It is clear to everyone, then, that pets have nothing to do with it, just as all the recommendations relating to going out and social relations have now entered our daily lifestyle.

But is there more? The team of 25 international experts who visited Beijing, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Chengdu from February 16-24 revealed some really interesting facts. So here's everything you still don't know about Coronavirus:


The majority of infections occur in the home

Between 78 and 85% of contagions among people in China were caused by an infection within the family through direct contact with an infected individual. Saliva droplets that are airborne over long distances are not a major cause of spread.
Most of the 2 hospital employees who tested positive were infected at home or in the early stage of the outbreak in Wuhan, when hospital safety measures had not yet been lifted.

The hospitals

5% of people diagnosed with Coronavirus need one artificial respiration; another 15% need to breathe highly concentrated oxygen.

The duration of the disease until more or less complete recovery is on average 3 to 6 weeks for the most severe or critically ill patients (compared to only 2 weeks for the mildly ill).

The number and duration of treatments overloaded the existing health system in Wuhan, what could happen to us if the containment measures put in place by the government were to fail.
The province of Hubei, whose capital is Wuhan, has so far counted more than 65 thousand infected people and as many as 45 hospitals care for patients with Covid-19: 6 are focused on critically ill patients and 39 on seriously ill patients and infected people over the age of 65. In a short time, two hospitals with 2.600 beds were built. On the other hand, 80% of the infected have a mild form, ten temporary hospitals have been set up in gyms and exhibition halls for those.

I testing kits

China can produce 1,6 million per week of test kits for the new Coronavirus: these are tests capable of providing a result on the same day. Across the country, anyone who goes to the doctor with a fever is screened for the virus: in Guangdong province, far from Wuhan, 320.000 people were tested and 0,14% of them were positive for the virus.


The vast majority of infected people develop symptoms sooner or later. Cases of people who have been detected with the virus and have no symptoms at the time are rare, with most symptoms coming in the following days.

The most common symptoms are:

  • fever (88%)
  • dry cough (68%)
  • tiredness (38%)
  • expectoration of mucus when coughing (33%)
  • short breath (18%)
  • sore throat (14%)
  • headache (14%)
  • muscle aches (14%)
  • chills (11%)

Less frequent are nausea and vomiting (5%), stuffy nose (5%) and diarrhea (4%), while a runny nose is not a symptom of Covid-19!


An examination of 44.672 infected people in China showed a death rate of 3,4%. Mortality is strongly affected:

  • from age
  • from the genre
  • from pre-existing clinical conditions
  • from the response of the health system

However, experts point out that all mortality figures reflect the situation in China until February 17, and everything could be very different in the future and elsewhere.

The health system

20% of infected people in China needed hospital treatment for weeks. China has hospital beds to treat 0,4% of the population at the same time - other developed countries have between 0,1% and 1,3% and most of these beds are already occupied by people who have other diseases. The death rate was 5,8% in Wuhan but 0,7% in other areas of China, which China explained by the lack of intensive care beds in Wuhan.
In general, the key thing is to aggressively contain the spread of the virus to keep the number of seriously ill patients low and secondly to increase the number of beds.

Pre-existing conditions

The death rate for people infected with pre-existing cardiovascular disease in China was 13,2%. It was 9,2% for those infected with diabetes, 8,4% with hypertension, 8% with chronic respiratory disease, and 7,6% with cancer. Infected people without a relevant prior disease died in 1,4% of cases.


Women can get the virus just as often as men. But only 2,8% of Chinese women who were infected died from the disease, compared with 4,7% of men. The disease appears to be no more severe in pregnant women than in others. In 9 examined births of infected women, children were born by caesarean section and healthy. The women were infected in the last trimester of pregnancy. It is not yet clear what effect it may have on an embryo in either the first or second trimester.


The younger you are, the less likely you are to get infected, as well as the less likely you are to become seriously ill if you contract the virus:

Age % of population % of infected Fatality
0-9 12.0% 0,9% 0 as of now
10-19 11.6% 1.2% 0.1%
20-29 13.5% 8.1% 0.2%
30-39 15.6% 17.0% 0.2%
40-49 15.6% 19.2% 0.4%
50-59 15.0% 22.4% 1.3%
60-69 10.4% 19.2% 3.6%
70-79 4.7% 8.8% 8.0%
80+ 1.8% 3.2% 14.8%

Of all people living in China, 13,5% are between the ages of 20 and 29. Of those who were infected in China, 8,1% were in this age group, meaning that the likelihood of someone at this age getting the infection is slightly lower than average. And of those who contracted the infection in this age group, 0,2% died.

Our probability of dying

Some people belonging to one age group go to read the death rate and think this is the right time for them to leave this earth. No, because we must not forget to apply all the other risk factors as well. Men in this age group are likely to die more than women, people with pre-existing conditions more than healthy people, and people in overcrowded hospitals more than those in hospitals where they get the best care they need.

The mutated virus

The new virus is 96% genetically identical to a known Coronavirus in bats and 86-92% identical to a Coronavirus in pangolin. Therefore, the transmission of a mutated virus from animals to humans is the most likely cause of the emergence of the new virus.

The decline of the infected in China

Since the end of January, the number of new coronavirus diagnoses in China has been steadily declining with now "only" just over 300 new diagnoses in one day (a month ago it was about 3 thousand a day).



To contain the epidemic, China is interviewing all infected people nationwide, asking who they came in contact with and verifying them one by one. From these checks it emerged that for those who have had direct personal contact with an infected person, the probability of infection is between 1% and 5%.

There are 1.800 teams in Wuhan to do this sort of interview, each with at least 5 people. But the effort outside of Wuhan is just as immense: in Shenzhen, for example, the infected named 2.842 contact persons, all found, the test is now completed for 2.240, and 2,8% of those had contracted the virus. In Sichuan province, 25.493 contact persons have been named, 25.347 (99%) have been found, 23.178 have already been examined and 0,9% of them have been infected. In Guangdong province 9.939 contacts were named, all found, 7,765 already examined and 4,8% of them were infected. This means, in fact, that if you have direct personal contact with an infected person, the probability of infection is between 1% and 5%.

"China's bold approach to containing the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic," the WHO report reads. Faced with a previously unknown virus, China has implemented perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history. China's uncompromising and rigorous use of non-pharmacological measures to contain the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in multiple contexts provides vital lessons for the global response. This rather unique and unprecedented public health response in China has reversed the increasing trend in cases both in Hubei, where widespread community transmission has occurred, and in the import provinces, where it appears that family groups have lead the epidemic ”.

How do the experts of the World Health Organization also conclude? With one conviction: that fundamentally much of the global community is not yet ready, mentally and materially, to implement the measures that have been used to contain COVID-19 in China.

“These are the only measures that are currently shown to disrupt or minimize the chains of transmission in humans. Crucial to these measures is extremely proactive surveillance to detect cases immediately, very rapid diagnosis and immediate isolation of cases, rigorous monitoring and quarantine of close contacts, and an exceptionally high degree of understanding and acceptance of these measures by of the population".

The video of the WHO press conference:

Sources: Reddit / WHO

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