Health and Science

'China is doing a great job' on coronavirus, says pathogens specialist at largest US public health-care system

Key Points
  • Pathogens specialist Dr. Syra Madad praised China for the work its done to try and slow the rapid-spread of the new coronavirus.
  • Madad, featured in the Netflix docuseries "Pandemic," said the deadly virus is "very concerning" but "it's not too late to stop the spreading."
  • On Friday, Chinese officials increased their confirmed coronavirus cases to over 10,000. The death toll remained at 213.
VIDEO5:0905:09
Special pathogens expert explains how cities can prepare for the coronavirus

Pathogens specialist Dr. Syra Madad on Friday praised China for the work its done to try and slow the rapid-spread of the new coronavirus.

"I think China is doing a great job," said Madad, a professor and expert in public health and special pathogen preparedness and response. "Right now, the majority of cases are in mainland China and they're doing a number of different public health measures."

"So it's too early to tell, but we're hopeful this outbreak can be contained at the global scale," she added in a "Squawk Box" interview.

On Friday, Chinese officials increased their confirmed coronavirus cases to over 10,000, though many experts believe the number to be much larger. The death toll remained at 213. The virus was first discovered last month in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province. It's since spread to at least 18 countries.

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the virus a global health emergency. That announcement came shortly after the U.S. confirmed its first human-to-human transmission — the husband of the Chicago woman who brought the infection back from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. There are six cases of coronavirus in the U.S.

The Chinese government has put several preventative measures in place, including issuing travel bans, extending its Lunar New Year holiday and monitoring citizens for fever and coughs. A handful of U.S.-based companies, including Starbucks and McDonald's, have also closed certain locations in China until further notice.

Countries around the world have also put measures in place. Several airlines, including British Airways, Air Seoul, Air France and American Airlines have suspended some or all flights to China. The U.S. State Department also warned against traveling to China.

Madad, featured in the Netflix docuseries "Pandemic," said the deadly coronavirus is "very concerning," but there's still not much known yet. "We just need to take a step back and see what's actually happening," she added. "It's not too late to stop the spreading."

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also gave a nod to China's preventative efforts during a news conference at the organization's Geneva headquarters on Thursday.

The decision does not mean there's a "vote of no confidence in China" to quell the outbreak, Tedros said. He also congratulated the Chinese government for its efforts to contain the outbreak despite the potential economic effects.

The new coronavirus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003. That outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak, which also originated in China, had 8,098 cases and 774 deaths.

China, accused of withholding information in SARS epidemic, said its handling of the coronavirus will be different. Last week, the ruling Communist Party's central political and legal affairs commission warned, "Whoever deliberately delays and conceals reports will forever be nailed to history's pillar of shame."