Doctor who helped eradicate smallpox has advice on how to beat COVID: more tests

Published March 22, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Gabriela Baron

An American doctor, who had fought against outbreaks of smallpox, the flu, polio and blindness, has an advice for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation.

Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant said: “We can beat COVID-19, but first we need lots more testing.”

“Tests would make a measurable difference. We should be doing a stochastic process random probability sample of the country to find out where the hell the virus really is,” he said.

Brilliant, who called the coronavirus “the most dangerous pandemic in our lifetime”, appealed for mass testing.

“South Korea is one that we could follow,” he added.

South Korea was one of the earliest countries to report a significant COVID-19 outbreak, but since then, its number of new cases has dramatically declined.

The backbone of South Korea’s success has been mass, indiscriminate testing, followed by rigorous contact tracing and the quarantine of anyone carrier has come into contact with.

As of March 19, the country has conducted over 300,000 tests.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries to “test, test, “test” for coronavirus.

“Test every suspected COVID-19 case. If they test positive, isolate them and find out who they have been close contact with up to two days before they developed sypmtoms and test those people too,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Doctor General of WHO said in a media briefing.

Confirmed coronavirus cases surged past 300,000 globally over the weekend, according to tracking by John Hopkins University.