Understanding COVID-19: Episode 3 – Blunting the Curve

By Bob Arnot, M.D., sponsored by DeVry University

What does blunting the curve mean? From the first case in Wuhan, and the action following, Dr. Arnot shares the measures China took to contain the coronavirus and flatten the curve.

Video Transcription

The most publicized public health strategy has been called blunting the curve. Let's take a look at the success the Chinese had in Wuhan.

The first case of Corona was established on December 8th, 2019. Scientists believe that this came from the Huanan Seafood Market and may have come from the purchase of a bat, which carried corona. There is no evidence that Chinese created the virus in a lab, though corona was kept at the Wuhan virus lab.

Massive travel began throughout China with the start of the Spring Festival. This may have spread the virus throughout Wuhan and China. The virus then spread from China throughout the Far East and around the world. With a large increase in cases, the Chinese government established cordon sanitaire around Wuhan blocking all air, road and train travel in and out of Wuhan. However, the number of cases continue to grow even with these measures.

The Chinese established mobile cabin hospitals. With widespread testing, all positive cases were isolated. With these drastic measures, a big reduction of cases was reported by mid-February, barely a month after the large surging cases began.

Here is more detail on the Chinese strategy. Those who tested positive were sent to mobile cabin hospitals converted from stadiums or conference centers. Severe cases were transported to hospitals and ICUs. Suspected cases with symptoms where centrally quarantined in designated hotels. Those with fevers were all centrally quarantined. Anyone in close contact with a confirmed or suspected case was quarantined in designated hotels or university dorms. If any of these were confirmed positive, they were sent to mobile cabin hospitals if mild to moderate or ICUs, if severely ill.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of the author.  The content is intended to provide general information on the nature of the pandemic, potential exposures, and is not intended to provide medical advice or address medical concerns or specific risk circumstances.  Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider regarding a medical condition.  Neither DeVry University nor its employees or business partners, nor any contributor to this content, makes any representations, express or implied, with respect to the information provided herein or to its use.

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