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Wuhan doctors share expertise with New York colleagues online

By ZHAO HUANXIN in Washington | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-03-31 10:40
Medical experts in Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province, talk with their counterparts at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University in Syracuse via video conference over the weekend. Photo provided to China Daily

The experience of doctors in China who fought the novel coronavirus is "invaluable" for US colleagues, a senior medical expert said Monday as the death toll from COVID-19 in New York state surged past 1,200.

As part of their COVID-19 control experience sharing series, medical experts in Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province, talked with their counterparts at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University in Syracuse via video conference over the weekend.

The event, attended by more than 90 doctors in New York, was hosted by Lawrence S Chin, dean of the College of Medicine at Upstate Medical University.

"I was impressed with the generosity and candor of the Wuhan physicians," Chin told China Daily on Monday.

"They have a tremendous amount of experience and have studied the disease carefully. This experience will be invaluable for us as we are now facing an increasing threat from COVID-19," he said.

The Chinese participants of the virtual meeting included six physician leaders from Wuhan with different specialty practices.

Hu Yu, president of the Union Hospital affiliated with Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, said that Wuhan hospitals, the major battlefields in combating COVID-19, have accumulated "rich clinical treatment experience" that they would like to discuss and share with their American counterparts, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.

The meeting covered topics including emergency room triage, hospital staff protection, neurological conditions, experimental treatments, anesthesia procedures and operating room safety, according to Chin.

"There are many lessons to be learned, but perhaps the most important are the need for social distancing and adequate use of PPE (personal protective equipment) to protect healthcare workers and limit virus spread," he said.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the state of New York climbed by more than 250 in a single day to surpass 1,200 Monday. Total confirmed cases have approached 66,500, with the largest number in New York City.

"Please come help us in New York now," said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who has asked the state's nonessential workforce to continue to work from home for an additional two weeks through April 15.

The USNS Comfort, a US Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds, arrived in New York City on Monday to help relieve the crisis.

Cuomo warned that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak was yet to come.

"The tsunami is coming. We know it is. Now is the time to gather supplies, do the preparations because it's too late the day before. If you have not done the work before the storm hits, it's too late to do it once the storm hits. And the storm is coming," Cuomo said at a news briefing Monday.

New York is at the leading edge of the disease in the country, but other states are at risk of following the same path, Chin said.

"We should emphasize the need for social distancing and early detection with adequate testing," he said.

New York has tested more than 186,000 people in March, or about 1 percent of the state's population, according to local media reports.

Chin said there is much to learn by cooperation between the health care communities of the two countries.

"Only with open exchange of information and early decisive action can future epidemics and pandemics be limited," he said.

Peter Beinart, a professor of journalism at the City University of New York, tweeted on Sunday: "The lesson of COVID-19 isn't that the US must get tougher on China. It's that the two countries must revive the public health cooperation that — before Trump — saved countless lives."

In an article titled "Trump's Break With China Has Deadly Consequences," published on The Atlantic website Saturday, Beinart said US-Chinese collaboration against infectious disease isn't a globalist fantasy. It has proved "immensely effective" in the past, as in the fight against SARS and Ebola infections.

"Now that COVID-19 is sweeping across the United States, cooperation between Washington and Beijing remains essential," Beinart wrote.

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