Digital technology has become one of the tools in COVID-19 prevention and control, yet "medical detectives" are also needed in the public health sector to employ and supplement digital methods, said Zeng Guang, member of a high-level expert team organized by the National Health Commission and former chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in Shanghai on Saturday.
Digital technology in China has witnessed rapid development and served as a tool for the prevention and control of COVID-19. Digital methods help experts to find people prone to infection, particularly with contact tracing and identifying at-risk individuals.
Why did China excel in COVID-19 prevention and control, even though it is not a digital technology pioneer? Zeng believes that’s because China has abundant experience in mobilizing state resources to curb the virus, including the use of digital technology.
"But I want to emphasize that digital technology is just one of the tools. In the public health sector, for example, we need to train more 'medical detectives'," Zeng added.
When it comes to the problems most people care about, such as tracing the source of infectious diseases, Zeng said, "Infectious disease evolves in nature. We don’t know how many years have passed and how many animals it has passed through. Only when it turns strong enough to affect humans and further spread can we discover it. Therefore, it is very difficult to trace its history immediately."
(Compiled by Fan Weizhi)