At Virus' Ground Zero, a '10-Day Battle'

New COVID-19 cases in Wuhan, China, to prompt testing for all 11M residents
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2020 7:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – Until this weekend, Wuhan hadn't had a new coronavirus case since early April. Now, with six new cases on the books, the Chinese city where the pandemic began is taking steps to prevent a new outbreak, starting with plans to test all 11 million of its residents. The BBC reports that, after more than two months under lockdown, the city started reopening on April 8 after it stopped seeing any new cases. Then, an elderly man was found Sunday to have the virus, followed by five others from the same housing complex. CNN notes none of those cases is believed to have come from outside the city. Now, per an internal document, each district in the city has been told to come up with its own plan by noon Tuesday for a "10-day battle," in which it will need to test all residents in that time period. The document stresses that older residents and communities that are more crowded should get first priority.

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An assistant professor at Yale's School of Public Health tells the Global Times that such wide-scale testing is necessary to get a handle on transmission in China's densely packed cities. Some infectious disease experts think the mass testing is either unnecessary or undoable, either due to cost or logistics. Other experts, however, tell the paper that by testing everyone, residents will have peace of mind, which will expedite the return to work and school. Plus, because between 3 million and 5 million residents have already been tested, the city would only need to test the 6 million to 8 million who hadn't been in 10 days—between 600,000 and 800,000 a day. The BBC puts it into context, however, noting that the US has been testing at a recent pace of about 300,000 per day, with 9 million in total tested. (Read more Wuhan stories.)

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