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Coronavirus pandemic could drag on for 2 years: Chinese expert

Outspoken Chinese doctor predicts Wuhan coronavirus pandemic could come and go for 2 years

Zhang Wenhong. (Miaopai, screenshot)

Zhang Wenhong. (Miaopai, screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese infectious disease expert known for his straight talk predicts that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could continue for as long as two years.

During a recent video conference held in Düsseldorf, Zhang Wenhong (張文宏), head of the Infectious Diseases Department at Fudan University's Huashan Hospital, said that Europe must brace itself for a battle that could last up to two years. "It would be perfectly normal if the virus comes and goes and lasts for one or two years," said Zhang according to the South China Morning Post.

He then warned his audience in Germany to "forget the idea that the pandemic will come to an end in Europe in the near future." Zhang, who has been tasked with battling the COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, rose to fame in January for saying he would replace doctors on the front lines with members of the CCP because they had "all pledged an oath."

Zhang had earlier predicted that the outbreak in China would peak sometime between April and June and retreat during the hot summer months. He initially said that it could make a return in the fall and winter, with a possible new spike in the spring of 2021.

However, since the outbreak has become a full-fledged global pandemic, Zhang says that the disease may continue to afflict the world in waves over the next two years. He said that the only way the cycle will be broken is if all the countries in the world team up and simultaneously take "extremely radical measures."

Zhang suggested that the pandemic could be stopped in its tracks if the world "could stop moving for four weeks." Unfortunately, Zhang doubted that such a global shutdown would happen, "even in Germany or Europe."

The outspoken doctor warned that without simultaneous coordination, strict measures in one country could be canceled out by laxer steps in other countries. He pointed out that China, which has started to ease its restrictions on movement, is facing a second wave of infections from overseas that could start a second outbreak.

Nevertheless, Zhang tried to strike a positive note by saying that as long as countries continue to adopt more aggressive containment strategies, "effective control of the pandemic is just a matter of time."

The number of COVID-19 infections worldwide currently stands at 378,692, and the number of deaths has climbed to 16,495. After changing its counting scheme for the sixth time in February, China's numbers have appeared to stabilize at around 81,000 infections and 3,000 deaths.

However, there is growing evidence that the totalitarian state has been taking measures to deliberately undercount its infections and deaths. In February, a staffer from a funeral home in Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, claimed the number of bodies that she and her co-workers had to transport and cremate each day was four to five times higher than the usual amount.

Based on the account, the daily average number of bodies suspected of being coronavirus victims was estimated at 225 at a single Wuhan funeral home or 4,725 in total between Jan. 22 and Feb. 12. There are eight registered funeral homes in Wuhan.

If the funeral home staffer's account is true, it would mean there were up to 1,628 deaths per day in the city and a total of 34,200 in the 21 days leading up to the report.

On March 22, SCMP reported that based on classified government data, 43,000 asymptomatic persons had tested positive for the disease in China and were therefore not included in the 80,000 confirmed cases that month.