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Showing posts from April, 2020

Benefits of Eliminating Corona Quickly: “Eastern Hemisphere Bloc”

There are benefits in trying to eliminate the virus, as well as evidence it can be done -- China, for example, appears to have succeeded in stopping the Wuhan epidemic and preventing wider transmission within its borders.

More countries, including Australia, could yet adopt elimination strategies and eventually form an “eastern hemisphere bloc” with nations like China, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea within which travel will be possible.

Covid-19 Lockdown Opening Update

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Asia-Pacific

China earlier this month lifted the lockdown of Wuhan, where the outbreak began. On April 15, the city’s vice mayor said it aimed to fully restore rail, flight and freight operations by the end of April. Prevention measures remain elsewhere, including Beijing.

India is under lockdown until May 3, but the government will allow some industries, such as farming and construction in rural areas, to open after April 20.

Pakistan, which extended its shutdown on April 14 by two weeks, said some industries would reopen in phases, starting with construction and export industries, such as garments.

In Japan, a month-long state of emergency is in force in cities since April 7, but the government has refrained from nationwide business closures for fear of damaging the economy.

South Korea, lauded for controlling its outbreak, has urged to follow social distancing until at least April 19.

Taiwan, another example of a successful early response, has avoided full lockdown but continues…

Nirvana: Australia’s Approach to Covid-19

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Australia’s Approach Australia’s results have come despite less stringent restrictions. It has allowed more industries to continue operating, such as construction, and consumers can still get a haircut or buy a takeaway meal, keeping many workers on lower incomes employed.
A notice for takeaway and delivery sits on a chair outside a restaurant in Canberra. Photographer: Mark Graham/Bloomberg “Australia is doing better than New Zealand without going to that extreme,” said Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician at Canberra Hospital who advises the Australian government.
Collignon questions whether New Zealand’s eradication strategy is realistic.

“The reality is this virus is everywhere, it’s all around the world,” he said. “So even if you’re successful for a short period of time, how long do you do this for? Six months? Two years? Invariably, you’re going to get the virus re-introduced.”

One concern is the phenomenon of asymptoma…

New Zealand on Course to Eradicate Covid-19

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As of 17th April Friday local time, Australia has reported 6,462 coronavirus cases and 63 deaths, while New Zealand has recorded 1,401 cases and only nine deaths

New Zealand  prime minister, Jacinda Ardern,announced on 23 March that the government would move swiftly to implement a stringent national shutdown – at that point no one had died from the virus and a little more than 200 active cases.

To date only 9 people have died of the virus in New Zealand, with more patients having recovered than there are remaining active cases.

Central to New Zealand’s approach is a scientific fact that most western leaders appear to have ignored, according to Michael Baker, a professor at the University of Otago’s Department of Public Health in Wellington who sits on the government’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Group. That is that the virus usually has an incubation period of five to six days, twice as long as influenza.

“That means that when someone gets sick, if you isolate them quickly and…

To Mask or Not To Mask Covid-19

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As per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) & World Health Organization (WHO) , masks for healthy people aren’t necessary, as long as they practicesocial distancingand stay at least six feet away from each other.  The agencies have maintained that the virus is transmitted by either direct contact with an infected person, fomites—an infected surface like a door handle—or from droplets that are produced when someone coughs or sneezes.  But there’s mounting evidence that transmission may occur via aerosols, or viral particles produced during exhalation by way of talking, breathing, singing, and even outdoor exercise. And, some experts and critics of the new CDC guidelines say, there’slittle evidencethat cloth masks offer much protection from that terrifying possibility. 45 of the 60 members of achoir groupin Washington—none of whom say they shook hands or had physical contact with the other members—tested positive for the novel coronavirus.  Experts hypothesized that the fo…

Herd Immunity & Covid-19

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What is herd immunity? The basic idea is that a group (the “herd”) can avoid exposure to a disease by ensuring that enough people are immune so that no sustained chains of transmission can be established. This protects an entire population, especially those who are too young or too sick to be vaccinated.  Herd immunity is what happens when enough people are immune to a disease (in this case, COVID-19) for the chains of transmission to be broken. As more people become immune, infected people are less able to pass on the disease, and the spread of the disease slows down. This provides an indirect form of protection for those who are not immune.

Usually, individuals become immune through vaccination. But there isn’t yet a vaccine for coronavirus, so herd immunity could only currently be achieved if enough people contract the disease and recover, developing an immunity to it in the process.

Lockdown Exit , Soon ?

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Prolonged lockdown is likely to cause greater harm than the virus to the nation’s long-term health and well-being, social fabric, economy and education,” said Simon Thornley, a public health lecturer at the University of Auckland  

In January, as the virus was spreading within the Chinese city of Wuhan, Singapore officials began screening travelers arriving in their country and placing anyone who tested positive into quarantine.

Singapore also quarantined some travelers who didn’t have symptoms but had been exposed to the virus. 

And Singapore tested its own residents and tracked down people who had come in contact with someone who tested positive.

The result has been only 10 deaths, out of a population of 5.6 million, despite the country’s close ties with China.

Thanks to that response, Singapore had been able to avoid the kind of lockdowns that other countries had put in place. 

Restaurants and schools were open, albeit with people keeping their distance from each other. 

Large gatheri…

The World can learn from Kerala on fighting Covid-19

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What the world can learn from Kerala about how to fight covid-19
The inside story of how one Indian state is flattening the curve through epic levels of contact tracing and social assistance. April 13, 2020
This story was part of MIT Sloan Technology Review May 2020 issue
See the rest of the issueSubscribe
A government health worker in Kerala checks a boy’s temperature.
The sun had already set on March 7 when Nooh Pullichalil Bava received the call. “I have bad news,” his boss warned. On February 29, a family of three had arrived in the Indian state of Kerala from Italy, where they lived. The trio skipped a voluntary screening for covid-19 at the airport and took a taxi 125 miles (200 kilometers) to their home in the town of Ranni. When they started developing symptoms soon afterward, they didn’t alert the hospital. Now, a whole week after taking off from Venice, all three—a middle-­aged man and woman and their adult son—had tested positive for the virus, and so had two of the…