Index > Wuhan Coronavirus Crisis
Monday, February 10, 2020
ANBOUND's Wuhan Pneumonia Emergency Team Dissolved
Chan Kung

As think tank, ANBOUND always maintains itself as researching force capable of professionally tracking and evaluating information. This professional team has played its clear and observable role in different historical periods in China. Whether it is for economic, urban, or industrial issues, having rich experience in information analysis, ANBOUND's research team can strive to achieve what others are unable to do.

After reviewing the process, the first trace of the "Wuhan Pneumonia" were discovered and tracked in the prediction and analysis of influenza outbreaks in the national public health field. At the end of December 2019, although the specific information of the virus was unknown, ANBOUND has formed key judgment at this stage. This virus resembles SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), therefore a warning was issued that an epidemic had occurred in Wuhan, and ANBOUND's employees from Wuhan were not allowed to return to their hometown. During this period, it is particularly praiseworthy for professionals that the report of Dr. Li Xingwang from the Beijing Ditan Hospital on the new coronavirus on January 15 provided a more detailed basis for information judgment.

Since then, the epidemic situation in Wuhan has developed very quickly. Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan and others began to mention human-to-human transmission of the virus in public. ANBOUND also began to collect and evaluate information about the "Wuhan epidemic" from various angles, and based on the information analysis and tracking research conclusions, the first follow-up research report was formed on January 22 and the conclusion was shocking. The assessment data of confirmed cases at that time showed that it was 35 times the known published cases and would also have a major impact on the Chinese economy. Although the evaluation report based on the research conclusions is simple and conclusive, this is the first public report on the Wuhan epidemic in China, and has attracted the attention and follow-up reports of international media.

On January 20, Wuhan was in a state of serious chaos, and its urban order was out of control. On January 22, ANBOUND concluded that Wuhan may choose to "lock down" its city under extreme circumstances. Following on January 23, Wuhan had then officially declared to "lock down" its city, which then leads to the occurrence of an information explosion. In order to further cope with this situation, ANBOUND's research department started to establish a team on January 26 in accordance with established practices and formally established the ANBOUND consulting "Wuhan Pneumonia" emergency team. It has been operating internationally for 24 hours a day for 16 days and nights. Unlike the scattered personal and public opinions, the ANBOUND team is a well-established, efficient and professional tracking research team. This is far from the first time in history of ANBOUND, and it represents the basic think tank spirit of ANBOUND mission and the extraordinary professional ability of information analysis.

During this period of time, the main work achieved by ANBOUND "Wuhan Pneumonia" emergency team is summarized as follows:

1. A quickly established transnational research and discussion mechanism, and an established communication as well as exchange mechanism on viruses and epidemic with virus experts of RAND Corporation, Harvard University, and also the University of Michigan Medical School, to get the effective and the needed key information. We also want to thank Jennifer Bouey, Li Yongqin and other scholars, and not forgetting the professors for their direct help and assistance. In emphasis regarding virologist Prof. Li Yongqin, whose many medical students are working hard in the epicenter of Wuhan. He is also the earliest researcher of cytokine storm and sepsis in the world (Note: Dr. Li Wenliang's death is possibly because of cytokine storm).

2. On January 27, the "Early Warning Signals of Wuhan Pneumonia Were Ignored" were published. The article clearly pointed out and seriously suspected that the "Wuhan Pneumonia" was actually a severe influenza, at least the outbreak of the pneumonia infection. Therefore, this article is actually a warning that excessive panic is useless, as there will be a large number of misdiagnosis and cross-infection cases, which will contaminate the data and cause panic.

3. On January 27, "Polluted air could be an Important Cause of Wuhan Pneumonia" was published. For the first time in China this confirms the transmission of Wuhan Pneumonia was related to the severe air pollution in Wuhan and the superposition of pollution and virus which formed the so-called "toxic air", thereby pointing out the solving a major issue of public policy now, especially in the future.

4. On January 27, a basic mathematical prediction model was established to predict and deduce the development of the epidemic in Wuhan. This model has positive verification significance for information analysis research, especially the derivation, prediction and judgment of information.

5. On January 28, "Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market is not the Source of Wuhan Pneumonia" was published. This article uses detailed and classic information analysis, as well as derivation models to fully analyze the existing evidence chain. The "Huanan China Seafood Wholesale Market" was thought by the Chinese society and foreigners alike to be the "source" of the epidemic. Yet, ANBOUND's analysis shows that it was only a concentrated outbreak point, not the source. This has overturned the consensus of the general public and the medical community for the first time, pointing the understanding and research on the epidemic toward the correct direction.

6. On January 29, "ANBOUND: Evidence and forecast of the development trend of Wuhan Pneumonia" was published, and the basic model structure was disclosed, and discussed the issues of "self-lockdown" and "provable and non-provable mortality" in various places.

7. On January 31, the article "ANBOUND: The Road Ahead Following Wuhan's 'Lockdown", based on the complex and intersecting situation in Wuhan, had proposed for the first time, a road map for urban management and control of the epidemic. The article also suggested that Wuhan should first establish a "urban health and safety zone" to overcome the epidemic. At the same time, there is a further analysis in the article "Key Host, Not Source, should be Focus of Novel Coronavirus Research". This article emphasizes the significance of finding the "most threatening host".

8. On February 2, the "Second ANBOUND's Assessment of the Wuhan Pneumonia" was published, and the number of confirmed cases was raised again, from 20,000 to 29,000; the mortality number was estimated to be from 300 to 500 raising to 500 to 900.

9. After conducting data and field information analysis continuously for days, ANBOUND's Wuhan epidemic tracking research was released on February 1 internally, and publicly on the February 4. This research finally ushered in a turning point, a historic moment that announced the additional suspected and the newly confirmed data confirms that the earliest outbreak of the Wuhan Pneumonia was confirmed as early as February 3. After excluding various disturbance factors, the trend has become obvious in the development graph. What is even more surprising is that this discovery also indicates that the number of newly suspected and newly confirmed cases will reach its peak on February 9, indicating that the epidemic nationwide will enter a long and volatile decline. The release of the statement has placed ANBOUND under tremendous pressure. This is because at that time, the public opinion and the medical community were shrouded in pessimism, hence it was impossible for many to objectively face the reality. Also, at the same time, this important discovery means and proves that the Chinese government's measures to combat the epidemic are crude but effective, so it will have the opportunity to invest more medical resources in Wuhan and other regions outside Hubei.

10. On February 5, the third follow-up research report was publicly released. This report believes that, after eliminating the disturbance factors including the common pneumonia, influenza, and misdiagnosis of cases as the new Wuhan Pneumonia, the final confirmed case after excluding other causes will be about 43,600 cases. The report insisted on past predictions. The performance of the data on February 3 and the continuous tracking analysis for the next three days showed the earliest signal to overcome this epidemic was set to begin on February 3 and the confirmed cases will reach the peak of February 9. Based on the data analysis, the report believes that the actual mortality rate of Wuhan novel coronavirus is only two in one thousand, and it may be further reduced in the future. Even though this mortality rate is higher than the mortality rate of influenza under empirical conditions, it is clear that the death rate of this virus is much lower than past expert estimates. In addition, the mortality rate in Wuhan was as high as 4.9%, and there are very large abnormal social phenomena. The report emphasizes once again that for the outbreak prevention and control, the most important thing to understand is that this is a flu-like illness, not a panic-incurable disease. The report believes that as the epidemic situation has not ended, any accurate predictions on economic impacts are unlikely to occur. Our systematic assessment made only from a macro perspective believes that it is reasonable to maintain the second-period forecast on January 29, that is, the impact on national economic growth is 0.5-1.2%, mainly attributed by the impact of on the Spring Festival consumption, as well as the impact on tourism, food and beverage and cultural industries. Among them, the largest impact on the economic growth will be on the first quarter, where the quarterly economic growth will have difficulty in exceeding 5%. The report clearly warns that the main problem in the future lies in the fact that China's economic situation has weakened. It will be in a long-term downturn and this is the greatest risk in the coming period.

11. On February 6, ANBOUND strongly suggested that the "Citizen Support Center" should be established in various places to effectively alleviate difficulties during targeted times, and to aid the urban residents in need in a targeted manner, especially to avoid accidental death of isolated and helpless people.

12. On February 8, in view of the serious shortcomings of the so-called "mobile cabin hospitals", the design was completed in cooperation with Manchester Old Trafford stadium. The architectural design solution of the modern temporary hospital was widely commended and distributed in order to transfer the most effective modern infection. The temporary hospital model was introduced to various cities and regions within China.

13. ANBOUND's Wuhan Pneumonia Emergency Team has always been keeping track of the economic impact, leaving a final warning from this temporary team that the epidemic will have various major and far-reaching effects on Chinese society in the future, and the "last wave of withdrawal of capital" will occur.

What is worth pointing out is that during the 16 days and nights, the ANBOUND Wuhan Pneumonia Emergency Team maintained a smooth communication and exchanges with the governments in Beijing and Sichuan from the beginning to the end. So far, both places have been the main areas that performed best in the entire country.

As of now, the epidemic development curve of the Wuhan Pneumonia, especially in China, is exactly the same as the forecast and information analysis we conducted on January 29, but the downward slope trend is slow and repetitive. The result finally begins to clearly emerge and the mission has been reached. Of course, in the face of this sudden public health crisis, ANBOUND is not alone in the fighting; there are countless doctors, officials and scientists around the world working hand-in-hand at this very moment, and ANBOUND is just doing what a think tank should do.

Here I would like to express my gratitude to the ANBOUND Wuhan Pneumonia Emergency Team. As the leader of the research team, I would like to thank my four colleagues, He Jun, Feng Yan, Pan Yu and also Wang Zhaoxi. This research team had worked hard and pour in tremendous effort during this extraordinary period, and had fulfilled their mission while showing professionalism. I believe that their work will be tied to this historic period in China and will remain in their memory.

Currently the epidemic situation in Wuhan and the whole country is far from over, but ANBOUND is convinced that the basic epidemic evolution path, logic, context and impact have been clearly presented. From the perspective of public policy research, these are no longer challenging issues. Objectively speaking, in the future, we will mainly look at the regular capabilities of government departments, while putting emphasis on the social governance capabilities and the performance of their governance systems, especially depending on the rational performance of local governments in the future and the normal functioning of the medical community. Therefore, the ANBOUND Wuhan Pneumonia Emergency Team is announced to be dissolved.


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