China has successfully reduced the mortality rate of COVID-19 as the disease developed, said Gauden Galea, representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in China, at a press conference Tuesday.
Galea said Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak in China, has managed to reduce the mortality rate to around four per cent, and the figure in other regions of China has fallen below one per cent.
It is normal to have high mortality rates at the beginning of an emerging infection as the surge in the number of cases exceeds the ability of the health service to provide intensive care, he said.
In addition, China's policy of extensive testing ended up with a much greater denominator for calculating the rate. Health professionals have also become more accustomed to the disease and more skilled in saving lives, he added.
In Wuhan, studies that model the real case fatality rate show results of around 1.4 and 1.5 per cent, even smaller than the figure calculated by simply looking at the number of cases and deaths, Galea said.
The biggest message is the importance of having well-prepared health systems with a capacity higher than the surge in the number of cases, he added.
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