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Majority of doctors think COVID-19 infections will last long; survey
  • By Shim Hyun-tai
  • Published 2020.02.27 14:09
  • Updated 2020.02.27 15:34
  • comments 0

More than half of Korean doctors predict the new coronavirus outbreak will extend over a long period, a survey showed.

InterMD, an online site for sharing information among medical doctors, released results of its survey on 1,003 doctors early this week about the outlooks for the COVID-19 and measures to contain it.

Some 56.6 percent of respondents said that coronavirus infection would prolong due to group infection in local communities and hospitals. However, 40.2 percent of doctors answered that the situation would end within the first half of this year, and 2.9 percent said they were not sure.

Concerning measures to stem the COVID-19 spread, 76.2 percent pointed to selective admission and controlled access, and 73.8 percent cited the use of face masks and hand sanitizers. Besides, 43.9 percent said limiting hospital visitors to only one full-time guardian, and 29.6 percent replied fever detectors. Respondents were allowed to give multiple replies to the question.

The survey also revealed that COVID-19 significantly impacted the number of outpatients, and consequently, revenues. Only 11.1 percent responded that the number of patients and revenues were similar to pre-outbreak levels. About 13 percent experienced a 20 to 30 percent decrease, 23.8 percent saw a 30 to 40 percent reduction, and 18.6 percent, 40 to 50 percent drop. Some 18 percent said that they suffered from more than 50-percent decline.

On the other hand, 1.9 percent of pollees answered they recorded an increase in sales and patient numbers.

Asked how they should minimize losses, 40.2 percent said they would cut short service hours to cut costs. Some 15.5 percent cited staff cuts, and 14.7 percent preferred active marketing and new ways of treatment. The other 29.5 percent said they were at a loss what to do.

Regarding policy priority in battling COVID-19, 57.5 percent cited the strengthening of the quarantine system to prevent spread, 17.9 percent, quick information sharing about domestics and overseas infection status. About 12 percent said that the government should help damaged industries, 6 percent, the prevention of fear from the spread, and 3.9 percent, efforts to expand consumption and investment capacity of economic agents.

As to what medical institutions want most from the government, 71.6 percent pointed to the distribution of infection preventive supplies, and 54.9 percent wanted economic compensation for closing a hospital. Following them was the government's support of sterilization (41.5 percent), and the supply of wished for diagnosis kit supply (39.7 percent). Besides, 26.6 percent called for expanding selective care centers.

Most of the doctors stress the importance of early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. They called for the government to supply preventive products and pay attention to what physicians say about the COVID-19.

In the survey the polling company conducted in early February on some 600 doctors, meanwhile, 64.5 percent answered that COVID-19 ill spread faster and wider than the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

At the time, 70.5 percent replied that there is no realistic way to treat COVID-19 infection, and 14.8 percent cited ibuprofen, refrigerant, antitussive, and nasal sprays for symptoms alleviation. The other 7 percent recommended the use of influenza treatment Tamiflu and 5.5 percent, antibody injection.

InterMD said local physicians have been discussing how to prevent infection and the spread of COVID-19 since December in the forum provided by the company. The discussion includes worries of delayed treatment for the severe patient, inquiries about transferring selective clinics, justifiable reasons for refusing to screen, and necessary surveys for sorting out suspected patients.


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