Over the last two months of the outbreak of coronavirus Covid-19 has become a global threat. In trying to stop her the country went to the insulation of millions of people and bans on freedom of movement.
However, as of February 26 was more than 81 thousand cases in at least 29 countries. The number of infections rose sharply overnight in Italy, Iran and South Korea.
The probability that we are already in a pandemic — disease that spreads around the world, it seems higher than a week ago
“Our window of opportunity to contain the virus shrinking, so we need to act quickly before it is completely closed”, — said on Saturday the Director General of the world health organization , Tadros Adhanom Gebreyesus.
Other experts in the field of public health believe that the window has already been closed. They say that the recent events related to the spread of the disease, it is a warning to stop the virus is impossible.
Therefore, in their opinion, officials it is time to frankly acknowledge that non-proliferation measures have not worked and urgently change response strategy.
The pandemic started
“When several countries are experiencing rapid transmission of the virus, its spread to other countries is inevitable,” said CNN Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases USA.
As of February 26, there were about 3 100 cases Covid-19 outside of China. Whereas a week ago it was about 300 patients.
At the same time significant outbreaks have appeared in those countries where they were isolated facts. Many of the new infections was among people who’ve never been to China. Moreover, not identified their source of infection. The virus is in a few relatively confined environments — cruise ships and prisons — and have spread rapidly, like wildfire.
“We are at a turning point of the epidemic Covid-19, — VOX said Lawrence Gostin, a law Professor at health at Georgetown University.
“We must prepare for the predictable probability that Covid-19 may soon become a pandemic, affecting countries on almost all continents”.
Under attack from all
In South Korea, is now most cases outside of China — about 1 200. Although a decade ago there were barely 30. And already at least 12 deaths.
President moon Jae-in put South Korea on the highest level of preparedness for the outbreak. It gave local authorities the right to enter any private measures to contain the virus.
“This is a momentous time when the Central government, local authorities, health workers and medical staff, as well as all the people have to give a coordinated comprehensive response to this problem,” he said, speaking on national television.
As at 26 Feb
Iran reported 95 cases of infection, including 15 fatal
And this just a week after the official authorities said that the coronavirus in the country and is taking all measures to prevent. The infections associated with the citizens of Iran, already identified in other countries, including Canada and Lebanon. As sooschil channel Al Jazeera, Iran adopts “preventive measures”. Close schools, universities, cinemas and restaurants.
Outside of Asia coronavirus seriously covered Italy. Just a few days 325 confirmed cases and 11 deaths. The sharp rise of the disease in the North of the country has prompted the government to take tough measures. Sports, religious and cultural events are canceled, and University classes. The authorities also fined anyone who tries to enter or leave the areas where an outbreak, including 11 cities in the Lombardy region.
The quarantine error
Cruise ship “Diamond Princess” in Japan, which were isolated 3 600 passengers and crew today has 691 the case, including four deaths. It is the largest localized outbreak outside of China. The Japanese authorities ordered a quarantine in early February, trying to contain the virus, but these efforts turned into a disaster.
“In fact, they locked a bunch of people in a large tightly closed container with the virus,” said VOX, a Professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto David Fisman.
That is, experts in the field of public health believe that the quarantine on the liner proved the high level of infectivity of the virus.
By 18 February, Japanese officials began to let the passengers off the ship with a negative test result for the virus. And just the other day, already at home, a woman from Malaysia came down with a positive result. As a result of a global search released all passengers and their contacts.
Flash outside of China, as well as the latest scientific information about Covid-19 suggests that we may soon see a rapid growth of infection in China and in other countries around the world. Here’s why.
1. The virus is very contagious
There is a real danger that people can infect others before they learn that they themselves are sick. Currently, researchers believe that one infected person infects two or three others. This makes the new coronavirus more infectious than SARS and MERS.
“For the virus is quite closely associated with SARS, it shows a very efficient transmission from person to person, what nobody really expected,” said Vox Stephen Morse, Professor of epidemiology in the School of public health Columbia University Mailman.
As examples, cruise ship in Japan, thousands of infected health workers in China and the situation in the Chinese prisons. This is additional evidence of the potential spread Covid-19.
At the same time
the latest scientific data suggests that the virus is transmitted before the patient even have the initial symptoms
This again distinguishes Covid-19 from SARS and MERS. Moreover, it suggests that the coronavirus is also contagious as seasonal flu.
Recall that SARS was contained thanks to timely isolation of people who have manifested symptoms. Such a measure in this case is not effective.
“Try to stop the transfer of influenza-like — like trying to stop the wind. It is almost impossible,” said VOX David Fisman.
And added that we can talk about the ineffectiveness of the measures taken on the non-proliferation of the virus on a global scale.
2. Not there looking for
In many countries, the primary method of border barrier is still checking passengers arriving from China. And only now begin checking arrivals from other countries, but again, where is fixed a large number of cases.
“We really don’t know if there is a public transfer to other parts of the world. Because for the most part of the country do not conduct mass diagnostic testing, and check travelers and their close contacts,” said air force’s Tom Inglesby, Director of the Center for health-school of public health at Johns Hopkins University.
Although the US Centers for control and disease prevention say that the risk of infection in the U.S. is low, they are already changing the screening strategy. Just recently decided to use the national infrastructure surveillance for influenza testing of patients with flu symptoms Covid-19 in five U.S. cities.
3. The time pressure of the season
In the context of the ongoing flu season to detect cases and outbreaks may take time.
“The problem with this disease is that clinical symptoms resemble other viral illnesses like the flu,” said Inglesby.
Thus, people with the flu and doctors who examine them, you can not even think about Covid-19, especially those who has no relation to China and now to South Korea and Italy. We can only guess how many people could become infected by such patient.
4. Businesses are not up to virus
In the near futurethe specialists expect the new outbreak in China. This is due to the progressive lifting of travel restrictions and the resumption of production. H ■ to stop the virus fromTran took draconian measures. But the business community suffers a loss and puts pressure on government officials to weaken them.
“This is the most intense social distancing in modern health care,” said Tom Inglesby.
“What happens when all these people start to return to work and public transport is back, and the crowding? At best it’s a temporary respite in numbers in China.”
5. Inefficiency diagnosis
Even in the U.S., with one of the most advanced health care systems now, there is no adequate diagnostic capacity. And this is true for the vast majority of countries in the world. For example, in Africa, laboratory capacity for screening of this virus until last week had only two countries — Senegal and South Africa.
The country is now actively working in this direction, but the outbreak began in late 2019. Therefore, it is possible that hundreds of cases left unreported.
6. The variety of symptoms
It is already known that some infected initial symptoms manifested as abdominal pain. And this is not the symptom which draws the attention of health officials and doctors. Still the priority is elevated temperature. There are cases where respiratory symptoms were preceded by subjective, for example discomfort.
“This means that we cannot identify the cases in which the classical method is not accompanied with fever and respiratory symptoms,” said CNN William Shaffner, an infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University.
If you put it all together, probably in the world right now many more cases Covid-19 than discovered.
“Keep in mind that the disease may be widely spread and become pandemic, without being particularly serious. And no one yet knows what will be the mortality from the pandemic Covid-19. Mainly because we still do not know exactly how deadly is this disease,” said William Shaffner.
About opinion of experts in the field of public health, currently, countries need to move from trying to contain the virus to reduce its harm.
In other words,
- hospitals must be ready to use protocols Covid-19.
- Health workers should be provided with means of protection.
- Countries need plans to maintain supply chains and continue to travel and trade.
Recent outbreaks in Germany, France and the UK suggests that countries with high income and strong public health systems will be able to control the spread of the virus. At least for the moment. In these countries, after cases have been discovered Covid-19, a substantial increase of diseases was not.
Although it is possible that governments hide information to avoid panic, which would only aggravate the situation.