Archive for March, 2020
The world and our perception of our everyday lives seems to have changed so much over the past month since, in the UK at least, we have gone from 35 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 as of the 1st March to today’s (25rd March) official figure of 9,529. Globally the figures are growing as the WHO pushes testing and there are a variety of “dashboards” and reported figures to choose from but all indicate a pandemic that most of us, if any, have no first-hand experience. COVID-19 has created a lot of fear amongst populations, an unknown mortality rate, stretched (broken) health systems and is creating immediate and devastating financial impacts to global stock markets with the economic reality for most people still to come. Pretty gloomy at best, even when trying to be optimistic, March 2020 has been a tough time for all of us.
This graphic from the Information is Beautiful data pack puts an interesting perspective on this pandemic compared with others, and perhaps reasons not to panic. China and South Korea appear to have contained the spread of the virus in so much as they are now experiencing a deceleration phase.
Overview as at 11th March 2020 (Updated 19.3.2020)
Sustained human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus in the United Kingdom and elsewhere appears today inevitable. The extent and impact of the outbreak in the UK is difficult to predict and will depend crucially on how the Government, medical professionals, and the public react. It will depend particularly on whether there is adequate funding and support for the response; fair and effective management of surging health care demand; careful and evidence-based mitigation of public fear; and necessary support and resources for fair and effective infection control. It also falls to each individual to take appropriate and regular self-defence steps, maintain a suitable level of self-hygiene and limit exposure to potential and actual vectors. The most effective way to protect against Covid-19 is to minimise encounters with other people and if possible keep two metres away when you do meet. Clean your hands frequently, keep them away from your face and cover coughs and sneezes with the bend of your elbow or a tissue.
The Covid-19 outbreak is unprecedented in the recent UK and global history (since 1918), and there is no current playbook for an epidemiological event of this scope and magnitude. To mitigate its impact, the government must act swiftly, fairly, and effectively. For up to date data visit https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus. Flattening the curve — slowing the spread of Covid-19 across space and time — is critical. The health care system cannot sustain a massive influx of infectious cases to emergency departments and hospitals. Patients with mild symptoms should stay home when possible and seek to maintain their personal health and hygiene. In public health practice, “quarantine” refers to the separation of persons (or communities) who have been exposed to an infectious disease. “Isolation,” in contrast, applies to the separation of persons who are known to be infected.