Enlarge / Team leader of the joint mission between World Health Organization (WHO) and China on COVID-19, Bruce Aylward shows graphics during a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on February 25, 2020. (credit: Getty | Fabrice Coffrini)
Fresh off a plane from China, epidemiologist Bruce Aylward sat before members of the press at the World Health Organization’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday and laid out key insights from the coronavirus front lines.
Aylward, a nearly 30-year veteran of outbreak and emergency responses with the WHO, had just led a joint mission through the COVID-19 trenches to appraise the outbreak and China’s control efforts. His assessment was glowing: China had responded swiftly, on a mind-boggling large scale, and with differential outbreak responses tailored to curb disease spread in different settings—from the outbreak’s blazing epicenter in a highly populated city to the spotty disease clusters in rural areas.
He pointed to humped graphs of cases over time—they are the shape of an epidemic that has been hobbled, he said. Disease spread has been in decline since the beginning of the month, and doctors in China are honing their ability to treat patients. “If I had COVID-19, I’d want to be treated in China,” he said candidly.
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