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      A commentary on “World Health Organization declares global emergency: A review of the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)”

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          Abstract

          Sohrabi et al. [1] have reviewed the latest situation and knowledge about a novel coronavirus that has caused an outbreak of a deadly human infectious disease, named as the COVID-19. World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic on 11 March 2020 [2]. The authors have summarised many issues concerning the COVID-19 such as the clinical presentation, epidemiology, treatment, prognosis, prevalence, prevention and response to the outbreak [1]. More importantly, while pointing out the lessons learned, they have highlighted the importance of a number of critical issues, particularly the timeliness of providing information about COVID-19, starting with preventative measures such as quarantine of suspected cases and travel restrictions to contain the outbreak, and taking effective measures to stop the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 [1]. WHO data on COVID-19 show 118,382 confirmed cases and 4,292 deaths in 114 countries [3]. Notably, 66,687 cases of COVID-19 have recovered so far [4]. However, the situation is changing fast and the number of confirmed cases, deaths and survivors is expected to increase rapidly. WHO has estimated the preliminary COVID-19 transmission rate (R0) (reproductive number or the average number of people to which a single infected person will transmit the virus) between 1.4 and 2.5 [5], while others have reported higher values of R0 from 3.6 to 4.0 [6]. These values should be compared to the R0 of 1.3 for common flu and R0 of 2.0 for SARS [7]. While the R0 is greater than 1, the epidemic will continue [8]; however, when R0 is less than 1, the virus should slowly disappear [7]. The consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak are not only limited to human infection and deaths, but also have associated social repercussions, including racial and xenophobic attacks [9] and adverse economic implications, which have badly affected the travel industry [10], disrupted the supply chain [11] and stock exchanges [12], and slowed the global economy [13]. Governments and public health authorities around the world have taken several steps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 such as the introduction of a new legislation in England to protect the public by restricting or detaining those suspected of carrying the coronavirus [14]. Additionally, some countries have also banned large public gatherings to contain the spread of the coronavirus. For example, France has put a ban on crowds of more than 5000 people [15] and Saudi Arabia has temporarily stopped religious pilgrims (both foreign and local) from visiting Makkah and Madinah -Islam’s two holiest places in the country [16]. Italy has put the entire country in quarantine with 12,462 total cases and 827 deaths [7]. Governments and (public) health authorities alone cannot succeed in combating the outbreak. People need to protect themselves and others from contracting COVID-19 by following public health advice, adopting the suggested preventive measures, and complying with the guidance issued by health authorities. Nonetheless, public access to timely and authentic information concerning health emergency situations like the COVID-19 outbreak is vital. Otherwise, people may be misled by a plethora of false information being disseminated through different channels, possibly leading to fear and distress. There are signs of public panic such as the bulk buying of face masks and hand sanitisers leading to empty shelves in supermarkets in some towns and cities. Restoring the confidence of the general public in public health measures is crucial, otherwise public fear and apprehension might limit the local, national, regional and international efforts and measures aimed at tackling the COVID-19 outbreak. Containment of the COVID-19 is critical, and it is only possible through the joint and coordinated efforts and cooperation between diverse stakeholders at local, national and global levels. Some countries involved in COVID-19 outbreak might need international support due to their weak health systems, lack of resources and diagnostic kits, and poor economic situations such as Iran facing international sanctions [17]. More importantly, there is an acute need for the pooling of resources in research and development, including development of a vaccine and effective medicines to combat the deadly COVID-19. Provenance and peer review Invited Commentary, internally reviewed. Declaration of competing interest Authors declare no conflict of interest.

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          Most cited references 4

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          Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia

           Qun Li,  Xuhua Guan,  Peng Wu (2020)
          Abstract Background The initial cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)–infected pneumonia (NCIP) occurred in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019 and January 2020. We analyzed data on the first 425 confirmed cases in Wuhan to determine the epidemiologic characteristics of NCIP. Methods We collected information on demographic characteristics, exposure history, and illness timelines of laboratory-confirmed cases of NCIP that had been reported by January 22, 2020. We described characteristics of the cases and estimated the key epidemiologic time-delay distributions. In the early period of exponential growth, we estimated the epidemic doubling time and the basic reproductive number. Results Among the first 425 patients with confirmed NCIP, the median age was 59 years and 56% were male. The majority of cases (55%) with onset before January 1, 2020, were linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, as compared with 8.6% of the subsequent cases. The mean incubation period was 5.2 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.1 to 7.0), with the 95th percentile of the distribution at 12.5 days. In its early stages, the epidemic doubled in size every 7.4 days. With a mean serial interval of 7.5 days (95% CI, 5.3 to 19), the basic reproductive number was estimated to be 2.2 (95% CI, 1.4 to 3.9). Conclusions On the basis of this information, there is evidence that human-to-human transmission has occurred among close contacts since the middle of December 2019. Considerable efforts to reduce transmission will be required to control outbreaks if similar dynamics apply elsewhere. Measures to prevent or reduce transmission should be implemented in populations at risk. (Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and others.)
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            World Health Organization declares global emergency: A review of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

            An unprecedented outbreak of pneumonia of unknown aetiology in Wuhan City, Hubei province in China emerged in December 2019. A novel coronavirus was identified as the causative agent and was subsequently termed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Considered a relative of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), COVID-19 is caused by a betacoronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 that affects the lower respiratory tract and manifests as pneumonia in humans. Despite rigorous global containment and quarantine efforts, the incidence of COVID-19 continues to rise, with 90,870 laboratory-confirmed cases and over 3,000 deaths worldwide. In response to this global outbreak, we summarise the current state of knowledge surrounding COVID-19.
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              Preliminary estimation of the basic reproduction number of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China, from 2019 to 2020: A data-driven analysis in the early phase of the outbreak

              Highlights • The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) pneumonia has caused 2033 confirmed cases, including 56 deaths in mainland China, by 2020-01-26 17:06. • We aim to estimate the basic reproduction number of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan, China using the exponential growth model method. • We estimated that the mean R 0 ranges from 2.24 to 3.58 with an 8-fold to 2-fold increase in the reporting rate. • Changes in reporting likely occurred and should be taken into account in the estimation of R 0.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Int J Surg
                Int J Surg
                International Journal of Surgery (London, England)
                IJS Publishing Group Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
                1743-9191
                1743-9159
                10 March 2020
                April 2020
                10 March 2020
                : 76
                : 128-129
                Affiliations
                [a ]NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington Way, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9DU, England, UK
                [b ]College of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, UK
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author. Sarwar.Shah@ 123456ouh.nhs.uk
                Article
                S1743-9191(20)30213-2
                10.1016/j.ijsu.2020.03.001
                7128929
                32169574
                © 2020 IJS Publishing Group Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

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