๐Ÿ“‘ Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now

Bookmarked Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now by Tomas Pueyo (Medium)
Tomas Pueyo digs into the reported numbers of cases from a number of countries and compares this with the estimated rate of spread. He provides estimates for what the true numbers probably are:

We donโ€™t know the number of true cases, but itโ€™s much higher than the official one. Itโ€™s not in the hundreds. Itโ€™s in the thousands, maybe more.

Although we may have an idea on the rate of spread, this often depends on variables such as age and weather.

Age distribution in each country will also have an impact: Since mortality is much higher for older people, countries with an aging population like Japan will be harder hit on average than younger countries like Nigeria. There are also weather factors, especially humidity and temperature, but itโ€™s still unclear how this will impact transmission and fatality rates.

The reality is that the best possible response is to act fast and act early:

Countries that act fast can reduce the number of deaths by a factor of ten. And thatโ€™s just counting the fatality rate. Acting fast also drastically reduces the cases, making this even more of a no-brainer. Countries that act fast reduce the number of deaths at least by 10x.

The reason for taking action is to reduce the stress on the healthcare so that we are able to better cope with the spread until a time when a vaccine is available.

If we reduce the infections as much as possible, our healthcare system will be able to handle cases much better, driving the fatality rate down. And, if we spread this over time, we will reach a point where the rest of society can be vaccinated, eliminating the risk altogether. So our goal is not to eliminate coronavirus contagions. Itโ€™s to postpone them.

Such actions come in may forms, however they depend upon which stage things are at.

There are several stages to control an epidemic, starting with anticipation and ending with eradication. But itโ€™s too late for most options today. With this level of cases, the only options politicians have in front of them are containment, mitigation or suppression.

The problem is that many countries have missed the opportunity to contain the virus and are left with mitigation and supression.

Once there are hundreds or thousands of cases growing in the population, preventing more from coming, tracking the existing ones and isolating their contacts isnโ€™t enough anymore. The next level is mitigation or suppression.

Pueyo warns that one of the biggest challenges with the virus is that those who are contagious are often asymptomatic.

If youโ€™re still hesitating because nobody is showing symptoms, just realize 26% of contagions happen before there are symptoms.

Although many of the statistics Pueyo provides are most likely dated, this post is useful in providing a clarity about why social distancing, working from home and school closures are so important.

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