Early intervention for patients with mild symptoms.China has been quick to have patients with mild symptoms admitted to designated medical facilities for early medical intervention, and has done its best to prevent mild cases from worsening. The national clinical treatment network has been expanded to include more than 10,000 hospitals dedicated to the treatment of Covid-19 patients. A national network of medical treatment coordination has also been formed to provide technical support through online consultation.
In Wuhan, faced with surging infections and considering that 80 percent of cases were mild, the city government mobilized resources to repurpose stadiums and exhibition centers into 16 temporary treatment centers. With some 14,000 beds, these centers were able to admit all confirmed mild cases for treatment. This helped to reduce infections and virus transmission in communities and prevent mild cases from worsening. The 16 treatment centers received a total of more than 12,000 patients; 8,000 and more were cured and discharged; and more than 3,500 were transferred to hospitals. While in service, these facilities had zero cases of infection, death, or relapse.
Temporary treatment centers, or Fangcang shelter hospitals, are a major innovative solution that provided enough beds to admit all confirmed cases, thus turning the tide in the battle against Covid-19. An article in The Lancet wrote, “To relieve the huge pressure on the healthcare system, Fangcang shelter hospitals have also been crucial.”2
Reviewing diagnostic and therapeutic plans and applying effective ones on a broad scale.China’s diagnostic and therapeutic plans for Covid-19 have been developed and improved through clinical practice, medical research, experimentation and regular reviews. Based on scientific knowledge and accumulated evidence, R&D results and the diagnostic and therapeutic regimens that proved effective were incorporated in the national diagnosis and treatment plans. These include seven versions of the diagnosis and treatment protocol, three editions of the protocol for severe and critical cases, two editions of the manual for mild case management, two editions of convalescent plasma therapy treatment protocol, and one rehabilitation treatment program for patients discharged from hospitals. All these protocols and plans have contributed to science-based treatment of patients and the establishment of standards for medical treatment.
In Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Covid-19 (Trial Version 7), information on pathological changes, clinical symptoms, criteria for diagnosis, therapies, and criteria for patient discharge was added or updated. The protocol states that asymptomatic cases may be contagious. It also notes that plasma from convalescent cases may work in treating the infected. This edition has been adopted or used for reference in a number of countries.
Concerning discharged patients, quarantining, monitoring of their health and rehabilitation, and reexamination and re-testing have all been strengthened. Integrated medical services covering treatment, rehabilitation and health monitoring have been put in place. Differentiated treatment approaches have been adopted for children and pregnant women, among other groups.
Leveraging the unique strength of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).Both TCM and Western medicine were used and traditional Chinese and Western drugs administered. China has leveraged the unique strength of TCM in preemptive prevention, differentiated medication, and multi-targeted intervention, and at every step of Covid-19 treatment and control. The etiology and pathogen of the disease were analyzed and confirmed through TCM methodology, as were the principles and methods of treatment. A set of TCM diagnosis and treatment protocols were developed to cover the entire process of medical observation, treatment of mild, moderate, severe, and critical cases, and recovery, and they have been applied nationwide.
TCM hospitals were used in the treatment of Covid-19 patients, and TCM teams took charge of and ran some wards for patients in severe condition at designated hospitals and some treatment centers. All the other shelter hospitals had resident TCM experts. TCM has played its part in the entire process of Covid-19 response, from early intervention to administering case-specific treatment. TCM drugs and treatment methods were used for early intervention and treatment of patients with mild symptoms; for patients with severe symptoms they were used in combination with Western medicine; for those under medical observation for fever and those who had been in close contact with confirmed cases they served to improve immunity; they helped to strengthen the constitution of those who had recovered. A national TCM coordination network was formed to offer guidance to patients recovering from the disease.
Chinese herbal formulas and drugs were administered to 92 percent of all confirmed cases. In Hubei Province, more than 90 percent of confirmed cases received TCM treatment that proved effective. Jinhua Qinggan Granules, Lianhua Qingwen Capsules/Granules, Xuebijing Injection, Lung Cleansing and Detoxifying Preparation, Dampness Resolving and Detoxifying Preparation, Lung Diffusing and Detoxifying Preparation, and other TCM drugs and herbal formulas have proved effective in treating different types of Covid-19 patients. They have significantly reduced the incidence rate, prevented cases with mild symptoms from worsening, increased the cure rate, lowered the fatality rate, helped nucleic acid turn negative, and sped up the rehabilitation of recovered Covid-19 patients.