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China, US health experts vow to act together against COVID-19

/ 11:45 AM May 10, 2020

Photo taken on April 27, 2020 shows boxes containing face masks donated by China’s Fujian province in Oregon, the United States. Governor of the US state of Oregon Kate Brown on Tuesday expressed her heartfelt thanks to China for its donation of 50,000 medical face masks from Oregon’s sister province Fujian. Xinhua via China Daily/Asia News Network

SAN FRANCISCO — Leading health experts from China and the United States have agreed during a webinar to act together and follow scientific guidance in the fight against COVID-19, the event’s organizer said Friday.

“They exchanged opinions and reached a very positive conclusion in the end, as Professor Barry Bloom from Harvard said that health care is local, but health research is global. The world must rely on scientific methods to deal with the pandemic. We must also use scientific methods to find the origin of the virus,” said Florence Fang, co-founder of the newly-established, non-profit Global Alliance to Combat COVID-19 (GACC).

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“If we want to win this war against the coronavirus, we must work together globally and not be misled by the misinformation of all kinds. We must listen to scientific information and let science tell us what to do. This is the consensus that we have reached at this webinar,” Fang said.

Chinese keynote speakers at the webinar included Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory specialist and an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering; Qiao Jie, president of the Peking University Third Hospital and also an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering; and Zhang Wenhong, head of Shanghai’s COVID-19 clinical experts team.

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They were joined by Barry Bloom, former dean of Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health; Sten Vermund, dean of the Yale School of Public Health; and Brian Bosworth, chief of medicine at New York University Langone Health’s Tisch Hospital.

According to Fang, the webinar received a lot of feedback from some US officials. “I had a call with California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. She expressed her support and thanks for this activity,” Fang told Xinhua in an online interview.

“One of the purposes to organize this webinar is to promote Sino-US relations and understanding. We should join our forces to act against common threats. We cannot fight separately, not to mention fighting each other,” Fang added.

Fang said she is already planning another online forum for Chinese and American experts to focus on vaccine development against the coronavirus.

The GACC, which aims at building a collaborative environment for top health care experts around the world to share experience and offer technical support, will organize a series of online forums and seminars in the near future. The target audience of the events will mainly be health care professionals and policymakers, with selected events open to the public, according to Fang.

“This pandemic will pass, but human health will remain a global issue,” said Fang, who is also co-founder and vice chairwoman of the George H.W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations.

The foundation launched the US-China Coronavirus Action Network in January, with Fang as chair, to join the world in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and to bolster US-China friendship and cooperation.

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