Big Lessons in Transparency  

Doctors check a patient's CT image at a temporary hospital in Wuhan, China, Feb. 25, 2020. Image: Shen Bohan/Xinhua/Getty
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Doctors check a patient's CT image at a temporary hospital in Wuhan, China, Feb. 25, 2020. Image: Shen Bohan/Xinhua/Getty

The WHO has called out China for failing to share data on coronavirus infections among health care workers—one of the global health agency’s few public criticisms of China’s handling of the outbreak, according to The Washington Post.

China waited until February 14 to disclose 1,700 infections among health workers.

The WHO says it has repeatedly pressed China for “disaggregated” data to provide clues about hospital transmission and help assess the threat to frontline workers.

Zhong Nanshan, China's top respiratory disease expert, says that China could have limited the outbreak if it had acted earlier—in December, or even early January, when the first clues emerged, South China Morning Post reports. “We should take actions to prevent it spreading whenever there is a coronavirus infection case. This is a big lesson for us,” Zhong said. 

Other countries are needing those lessons more and more. Last night, US President Donald Trump addressed Americans on the growing COVID-19 threat, naming Vice President Mike Pence to lead a US response task force as America reported its first apparently locally spread case of the virus, in California, CIDRAP reports.

Trump was joined by US health officials for his speech, including  Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. He drew blistering critiques yesterday for his refusal during Congressional testimony to promise that any vaccine for the new coronavirus developed with US taxpayer funds would be affordable.
“This is a moral disgrace and a moral catastrophe of the very highest order,” tweeted Gavin Yamey, director of Duke University’s Center for Policy Impact in Global Health. “When the COVID-19 vaccine is developed it MUST be made a global public good, available to everyone worldwide who needs it, free at the point of care. Rich countries must not monopolize it. End of story.”
Meanwhile, as the AP reports that cases outside China exceeded those within for the first time. There are now 82,000 cases and ~2800 deaths in 50 countries.

In the UK, Public Health England has shared a batch of guidance papers for clinical and non-clinical (e.g. transportation, education) settings.

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