11 Mar 2020
Posted in Pharma
Next few weeks pivotal for US to understand true extent of Covid-19 spread
Covid-19 transmission in China is reportedly winding down as reported new cases are decreasing, but the virus is just starting to make the rounds in the rest of the world. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) situation reports in the last weeks showed that a shift has taken place– there are now more new cases outside of China than in China.
Kasey Fu, Director of Epidemiology at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:
“It is very likely that the US will see a significant increase in laboratory confirmed Covid-19 cases. Several events are coming together to drive the increase, such as unchecked travel from Italy, Iran and South Korea in the weeks before case clusters were found in those countries; the CDC broadening testing criteria last week; and an increase in capacity to conduct confirmation tests in the US.
“Prior to March, the CDC has extremely limited testing capabilities, opting to use its own problematic in-house diagnostic test instead of the test developed by Germany and later adopted by the WHO and many other countries. The US also set extremely strict requirements prior to approve testing, limiting to those who have a travel history to China and those with close contacts with infected individuals. Some of those testing restrictions have now been lifted in reaction to recent developments, state laboratories have been given more freedom to create their own kits, and the Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) has promised more test kits to be soon available.
“As a result of the recent changes in government policy and testing capability, we will be able to find a lot more of the previously ‘silent’ cases that had already been in the community, but were not identified. The next few weeks will be pivotal for the US to understand the true extent of Covid-19 spread in the country.”