"Three years of anti-epidemic experience tells us that we should adopt anti-epidemic measures in a scientific way, including increasing vaccination, enhancing research and development into vaccines such as nasal spray vaccines and anti-viral drug research and development, Lu Hongzhou, head of the Third People's Hospital of Shenzhen, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"We should use anti-viral drugs in time which could be an effective way to reduce severe illness and mortality," Lu said. According to data of clinical cases, most severe COVID-19 patients' symptoms remain mild for the first week, but worsen in the second week. For high-risk groups which could develop into severe cases, anti-viral drugs should be used in time, according to Lu.
However, in the US, the available vaccines and medications remain out of reach for a vast majority of Americans, which is also a result of poor communication by federal officials and other bureaucratic barriers, The New York Times said in an article in August 2022.
Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle Walensky also wrote in the Washington Post on Sunday that political pressure and manipulation by the former Trump administration early in the pandemic played a role that fostered greater skepticism about science and debate over whether public health interventions infringe on personal freedom.
The US CDC, the nation's premier public health agency, saw its demoralized workforce exhausted, its authoritative voice diminished and its data-gathering processes cumbersome.
The US marked 1 million deaths of Americans from COVID-19 in May 2022 and Omicron set records for COVID infections in the US, heavily weighing on US medical systems and driving burnout among medics.
"Due to different social governance structures, different federal states are unlikely to organize medics well to fight the epidemic together. But the unity is a major systemic advantage in China," Zhou Ning, a doctor from Wuhan's Tongji Hospital, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Zhou, a frontline doctor who witnessed the lockdown in Wuhan and the country's top-down support for the city, said when there was an outbreak in a Chinese city, the country makes all-out efforts to help by allocating resources and medical staff. "It's always like a big family and people help each other," he said. "but it's all but impossible to see such scenes in the US."
After three years of arduous battle, many Chinese medical workers like Zhou said they accumulated abundant experience in treating patients infected with the coronavirus, especially those with severe symptoms. -
"During the recent infection peak period in late December , although we received growing numbers of patients everyday and faced shortages of medical resources to some extent, we were not panicked at all, and we saw that overall mortality rates caused directly by COVID were relatively low," Zhou said. "Most patients of severe cases were treated quickly and they recovered well."
But in the US, life expectancy dropped for the second consecutive year in 2021, falling to the lowest it has been since 1996, CNN reported in December 2022, citing final mortality data published Thursday by the US CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
"It was exactly because of the dynamic zero-COVID policy that we managed to dodge the havoc of the deadlier Delta and other variants, and reduced the rates of severe cases and mortality and protected people's lives and health to the greatest extent possible," Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a press conference on January 10.
More than 3.48 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, and the total number of people vaccinated is 1.31 billion, according to a report released by China's CDC on Saturday. Of those, 1.27 billion have been fully vaccinated. The number of people who have completed at least one booster immunization is 827 million."