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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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It’s “too early to tell” whether those patients who have been sickened by the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease and have recovered from them have developed an immunity from being re-infected by the illness, according to an epidemiologist from the World Health Organization (WHO).
There have been more than 740,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The virus has killed more than 35,000.
In the United States, 140,904 cases have been reported, including 2,405 deaths, according to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The worst of the cases are centered in the area in and around New York City.
“Well, at the World Health Organization we have been discussing with a group of people how best this outbreak can be stopped and at the same time how the lockdown procedures can be lifted,” said Dr David Heymann. “And the general consensus is, it depends on the risk assessment in the country. China has already begun to unlock its heavy industrial sector and also its small business sector and they are watching very closely to make sure that transmission doesn’t increase as a result.
“That’s what other countries need to do it is a well. They need to understand where the majority of transmission is occurring and then they need to keep those sectors locked down most while unlocking the sectors where transmission is less important and having measures in place to stop transmission should it begin to increase again,” the physician said.
In terms of long-term immunity for those who have been previously infected, Dr Heymann said, “You know, other coronavirus don’t develop long-term immunity, people can get viruses that cause the common cold on are a regular basis so it is very important that the immune response to this organism be studied, it is too early to say for sure, hopefully there will be an immunity that is developed so vaccines can be developed and a other means of prevention will be possible.”
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