LONDON, ONT. – A year ago, on January 27, 2020, CTV London first reported that those close to a student at Western University learned that they had signed COVID-19.
On January 31, a student in her twenties was confirmed to be suffering from the disease.
She had just flown out of Wuhan, China, after spending time by her sick parents’ bed.
Dr. Chris Mackie, London-Middlesex Medical Health Officer, commends this first patient for doing the right things, even at a time when we didn’t know what the right things were.
“The system in Wuhan was overwhelmed, so the parents were not tested for COVID but were diagnosed based on their clinical symptoms. And so she took all precautions. Long before masking was mandatory, she wore a mask from Wuhan to Shanghai, Vancouver and Toronto. All the way in her taxi. “
Dr. Mackie says the young woman, who was never identified, even asked her roommate to move out and didn’t see her boyfriend, despite initially receiving a negative test result.
“Really a great merit to this person. We didn’t have other cases until two months later. We could have had a first wave that could have been much heavier in the London area. “
According to the Middlesex-London Health Unit website, this first case was first presented on January 24th.
But when Dr. Mackie saw China build a hospital in a week and the hospitals in that country were overwhelmed, he knew COVID-19 was coming.
“When you saw the dramatic action there, the images of hospital waiting areas literally packed shoulder to shoulder with people, it was clear that something really remarkable was happening. “
The research focus for Art Poon, Associate Professor at Western University, is on the design and implementation of new computational methods to analyze how viruses adapt and spread.
“I cannot emphasize enough how different this is from, for example, a few decades ago when we were unable to communicate, share knowledge … warn everyone.”
Poon says the researchers’ ability to delve deep into the DNA and RNA structures of COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated the ability to develop therapies and vaccines.
“The silver lining of the pandemic is that there has been an unprecedented amount of science to understand this virus, to track how it changes and spreads around the world.”