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Chinese SARS expert predicts coronavirus outbreak will end in April

Pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan says coronavirus deaths likely to peak by late February

Zhong Nanshan is known for his contributions to 2003 SARS prevention. 

Zhong Nanshan is known for his contributions to 2003 SARS prevention.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Renowned Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan (鍾南山) said Tuesday (Feb. 11) that the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic will reach its peak at the end of the month and will slowly die out by April.

During an interview with Reuters, the 83-year-old senior medical adviser to the Chinese government, who gained his fame in 2003 for combating the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, shared his take on the current viral outbreak. He remains optimistic that the number of infections will soon descend despite the country already having more than 44,000 cases.

Zhong said that the peak of the outbreak should come "in mid or late February" based on mathematical models of the outbreak's virulence and Chinese government measures. He confessed that the coronavirus has proven to be more contagious than medical experts predicted, but there is already a gradual reduction in viral infection numbers in several parts of the country.

When asked about the government's response to the outbreak, Zhong said that the Wuhan government did a poor job in containing the virus and should take partial responsibility for the death toll. In regards to the passing Thursday (Feb. 6) of Chinese ophthalmologist and whistleblower Li Wenliang (李文亮), Zhong said that he was saddened by the news and encouraged more doctors in China to step forward and share the truth, reported the Liberty Times.