The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that China's latest epidemiological paper on COVID-19 is important in enabling it to provide advice to other countries.
With detailed data on more than 44,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the paper, released in China on Monday, offers "a better understanding about the age range of people affected, the severity of the disease and the mortality rate," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
"They are very important in enabling WHO to provide good evidence-based advice to countries. We encourage all countries to share their data publicly," he said.
As more data coming in from China are depicting a clearer picture of the outbreak, such as how it's developing and where it could be headed, the COVID-19 is "not as deadly as other coronaviruses including SARS and MERS."
More than 80 percent of patients have mild disease and will recover; the virus causes severe disease in about 14 percent of cases, including pneumonia and shortness of breath; about 5 percent of patients have critical disease including respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure; and in only 2 percent of reported cases, the virus is fatal, according to WHO, which added that relatively few cases were among children and more research is needed to understand why.
Currently, a WHO team of international experts are in China working with their Chinese counterparts to better understand those gaps and improve the understanding of the outbreak, Tedros said.
He reiterated the importance of taking the window of opportunity to fight the virus, as most cases are confined inside China, while urging the international community to fulfill the 675-million-U.S.-dollar WHO fund to support countries in preparing for the outbreak.
Despite an appearing decrease of new COVID-19 cases in China, Tedros said that it's still too early to tell if the decline will continue.
An appearing decline in new cases, as is shown in the paper, "must be interpreted very cautiously; trends can change as new populations are affected," Tedros said.