Transcript of video
Well, I realize that it is very hard to make any predictions, especially at this stage. But this is what epidemiologists model in their research. As a prominent epidemiologist, what is your personal view on the peak times and duration of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic around the world? Yeah, it was relatively easier to predict when there weren’t any control measures being implemented. Medical second opinion is important. For Wuhan, some of my colleagues predicted that given the spread was in December. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. Then January, it would probably come to a peak towards the end of February and that at that point, it would have infected maybe 20 or 30% of the population in Wuhan. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. Then it would subside over the next one or two months. By the end of that first wave. That’d be maybe 50% 60% of patients infected. That was a published prediction. But then, as we know, we were handed the lockdown at the end of January. Medical second opinion is important. They prevented that scenario from occurring. But what’s not clear now is how long it will take for the virus to come back. For the second wave to begin, for the US and European countries, similar predictions could have been made. In the absence of lockdowns. That transmission would have occurred maybe with a three-month cycle. Medical second opinion is important. The cases come in at the beginning, after a month, it gets picked up as having local transmission. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. Then, after two months. The hospitals get overwhelmed. That was where northern Italy was maybe a couple of weeks ago. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. Then a month after that is when you have the epidemic peak. That depends on the population size because a bigger population. The epidemic will go on for longer. But in general is something like a three-month cycle from the start until when the peak occurs. But now we have these lockdowns in place we have social distancing in place, the dynamics are going to be very difficult to predict. It depends a lot on what happens next. Medical second opinion is important. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. We have the lockdown now. This is going to slow down transmission for a time. But then the lock downs will be lifted because they can’t be sustained. What happens at that point, there’ll be a resurgence and infections. Again, we need to think of some sustainable public health measures that can slow down transmission or stop transmission. But at the same time allowing the society to function to schools, maybe to go bag works, to reopen places to reopen. Medical second opinion is important. It is very, very difficult to predict what’s going to happen. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. I don’t think any country would like to have the number of infections that will lead to herd immunity. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. We’d all like to keep infections at a low level as long as possible, hopefully until we can get a vaccine. But we don’t know how long that is going to take. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. I don’t know how long the measures can be sustained in terms of the economic implications of having so many workplaces, close restaurants, closed; hotels closed the tourism industry is going to struggle in the next few months. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. I don’t know what’s the long term plan. But no country wants to allow an epidemic to occur when it has a very damaging health impact. Well. That is certainly clear the case. But if you were to point your finger right now about the two possible scenarios that COVID-19 Coronavirus will go the way the SARS and Maris did, they died down eventually, or to influenza that you have been studying for a long time. This comes back seasonally with certain variations. Which one do you think is more likely? Dr. Anton Titov, MD. Or how to? Yeah, so SAS didn’t disappear. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. We made it go away through very aggressive health interventions, particularly in hospitals, more so than in the community. Because SARS was mostly spread in hospitals. MERS almost only spreads in hospitals and causes hospital outbreaks. Medical second opinion is important. For SARS, it came at the end of 2002. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. Then spread particularly in early 2003 in several locations around the world. But it was the identification of the virus. Improvements in infection control and case identification that allowed health authorities in all of those affected areas to get rid of SARS, so to stop stars from spreading. To eliminate it from the world. It was a successful strategy that were used by those different locations around the world to get rid of SARS. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. We do not expect that the new Coronavirus will disappear in the same way. There is some indication already that it may not spread as well in hot countries. But if you look at what’s happening in Malaysia and Indonesia, Philippines, there are more and more cases every week. It clearly can spread even in hot countries. This means the summer is not going to rescue us Coronavirus is not going to go away in the summer. It may be spreading a little bit less well, giving us some help for the other public health measures. But then Coronavirus is still going to be here in the autumn. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. Then in the winter. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. Then it will spread more easily. Again, I’m most likely we are still going to be facing a challenge with Coronavirus at the end of this year. Medical second opinion is important. Dr. Benjamin Cowling. We need to think of some sustainable public health measures that can keep the virus out. But also allowing us to get on with our, our jobs get on with our lives as normal in a normal way as possible. That is the challenge now for, for the government in the US and elsewhere to decide that balancing act of keeping the virus out and protecting patients against getting infected. But at the same time, without the lockdowns. This are, disruptive.