Why is quarantine the best way to deal with the CoVID-19 pandemic?

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The CoVID-19 outbreak has become a serious test for humanity. It is important to understand that the world has never seen anything like this – this is the first coronavirus pandemic in our species' history. Corona viruses are a family of viruses that infect humans and animals. Some are the cause of annual and already frequent SARS, others cause SARS, for example the notorious SARS – severe acute respiratory syndrome (774 people died) and the MERS – Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (431 people died). However, if the SARS and MERS epidemics were stopped by quarantine and precautions such as banal hand hygiene, the new coronavirus could break out of China despite unprecedented quarantine measures, making Europe the epicenter of the pandemic. But if the European countries were quarantined immediately and not after a few weeks, would that number of victims decrease?

The empty streets of Chinese cities are both a beautiful and a scary sight

How effective is quarantine?

Journalists from the world-famous and respected publication The Washington Post have put together diagrams showing the growth rate of the number of infected people depending on the introduction of quarantine or its absence. Simple mathematical calculations make it clear that at least 100 million cases will be reported in the U.S. alone by May if no measures are taken to control the spread of CoVID-19. The fact is that the rate of spread of the new corona virus is fairly high – when completely inactive, the number of infected people doubles every three days. It is important to understand that this is pure math, not prophecy and other nonsense.

Mortality from coronavirus varies from country to country, but averages around 3% while around 0.1% of patients die from an influenza virus. Doesn't that sound very clear? Then here are the numbers for you: Three out of 100 people die from the corona virus and only one out of 1,000 (thousands) die from the FLU. Almost everyone of us knows one way or another with a hundred people. Imagine for a second that three of them could die of a new infection. Read our special material on how to distinguish between influenza and SARS and coronavirus.

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Remember that social distance is the reduction of contacts between people and the refusal to visit crowded places like subways, shopping centers, schools, universities, museums, cinemas, etc. – The most effective way to fight the spread of the coronavirus. To check this, let us imagine that a "zero patient" – the first infected – arrived in a small town with 200 inhabitants. If no action is taken, the disease will spread very quickly, as shown in Figure 1.

Free spread of coronavirus, schedule # 1

In the case of increasing self-isolation of the population – if all residents of the city choose not to go outside and not interact with each other personally – (or as in China, when people were forbidden to leave their homes), the number of new ones will slow down Infection cases significantly. Check out Schedule 2, impressive, right?

Schedule # 2 – What is the spread of the corona virus during full quarantine?

Chart 3 shows a slightly different picture – moderate self-isolation. This means that a fairly large percentage of the city's population stays at home and does not visit public places. However, some of the city dwellers continue to go outside. The graphic shows that the number of new cases of infection is much lower than if the patient is completely inactive.

Graph # 3 shows the spread with moderate self-isolation

Keep in mind that all relevant information about the coronavirus outbreak is included in our article, which is updated regularly.

However, Schedule # 4 shows what happens if quarantine is introduced and then abruptly canceled. After the introduction of quarantine, the number of infected people decreases. As soon as the quarantine is lifted, however, it increases again and this time more.

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Schedule # 4 – an attempt to quarantine and abruptly lift it

Should all countries introduce improved quarantine like China?

Despite the elaborate schedules, the introduction of an extended quarantine like in China is hardly possible in most countries of the world. The fact is that at some point in Wuhan, where the epidemic started, the authorities began pinning down the doors of residential buildings so that people could not leave them. The mass blocking of streets was effective even when those who wanted to quarantine were deprived of such an opportunity. It must be understood that the measures taken in Wuhan are extreme and violate the rights of not only sick, but also healthy citizens.

The R0 value for viruses determines the estimated number of people who can become infected after contact with an infected patient. For measles, this indicator is, for example, 12 to 14, for SARS about 3. According to various estimates, R0 for coronavirus is between 2.2 and 4.6. For example, with seasonal influenza R0 = 1.5. This means that the degree of distribution of the coronavirus is 2-3 times higher than that of the usual GRIP. In other words, a coronavirus patient infects an average of 2 to 5 people and one or two of the flu.

In reality, people will go out anyway. Caring for older relatives, the need for medication, or walking with a dog will not go anywhere despite a pandemic. In Italy and Spain, despite the quarantine, people can be seen on the streets, which is simply unavoidable. Despite the fact that the above charts do not take mortality into account, they show the effectiveness of self-isolation among the population. You have to understand that the schedules are primarily aimed at people from all over the world – if you have the opportunity to work / study from home and keep access to the street to a minimum – do so.

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Another reason to take a pandemic seriously is our material on the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic.

Whether you like it or not, CoVID-19, like evil aliens from space, will not negotiate with us. This is a virus and it absolutely does not care about our affairs, politics, religion and belief. The virus exists and its only purpose is to reproduce as successfully as possible. This is why you risk infecting others every time you leave home if you don't get sick yourself. According to the available data, people under the age of 40 can easily endure the disease, but it is very dangerous for anyone over the age of 60. Think of your parents, grandparents – do you want them to go to a crowded hospital like in Italy without guaranteeing they'll be connected to a ventilator? Personally, very, very much depends on you, don't forget it.