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Alex_Krycek

Comparing Corona Virus Success Stories with Abysmal Failures

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Note:  I'm not sure if this thread belongs in Politics or as part of another existing thread

It might be interesting to discuss the success stories vs the failures so far in the COVID-19 pandemic.  My definition of "success" is based on the number of deaths compared to the number of confirmed cases. 

Success Stories:

  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Hong Kong
  • South Korea

Not so Successful:

Pretty much every other country.

Factors of Success:

1.  Widespread and systematic testing - testing is readily available on demand and the throughput for testing (amount of tests that can be completed per day) is significantly higher than unsuccessful countries)  South Korea reportedly can test 10,000 people per day.  Everyone is encouraged to be tested, symptomatic or not, which is crucial when dealing with this kind of covert virus.  https://www.propublica.org/article/how-south-korea-scaled-coronavirus-testing-while-the-us-fell-dangerously-behind

2.   Sufficient medical supplies / stockpiles for a pandemic.  Countries like Japan already stockpiled a medicine to be used against the first SARS, which was ready to deploy when this pandemic emerged.  

3.  Innovative use of technology to alert, inform, and track the general public with regards to testing stations, active COVID-19 cases, and protocol for those who might be infected.  In South Korea they send out alerts to all mobile phones about active cases within a 100 metre radius.  

4.  A compliant general public.  The public in these countries is taking the outbreak seriously and following government protocol.  

5.  They actually had a plan.  Because of past experience with MERS, SARS-1, Avian Flu, and Swine Flu, these countries have already developed a serious action plan to confront an epidemic.  

 

 

 

 

 

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I would exclude Japan from the list for now. They have a very low testing rate and it is unclear whether it is well contained or not. With regard to 5) a key element is that many (if not all) of these countries had a task force established in the wake of SARS. Those have become a central coordination centers for tracking, stockpiling of supplies and so on.

What really annoys me is the fact is that while the epidemic raged in China, folks just looked on. It appears that folks still do not understand the concept of globalization. Just because their country dodged the bullet so far, does not make them immune. There were three months during which preparations could have been done, but apparently folks just started to realize it could hit them after Italy. 

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7 hours ago, CharonY said:

What really annoys me is the fact is that while the epidemic raged in China, folks just looked on. It appears that folks still do not understand the concept of globalization. Just because their country dodged the bullet so far, does not make them immune. There were three months during which preparations could have been done, but apparently folks just started to realize it could hit them after Italy. 

Asleep at the wheel.  

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I think it is still the old nationalist thinking- things far away don't affect me. And if it starts I just close the borders and am safe. I am only worried if those close or similar to me are affected. Very human and thus very stupid.

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8 hours ago, CharonY said:

I think it is still the old nationalist thinking- things far away don't affect me. And if it starts I just close the borders and am safe. I am only worried if those close or similar to me are affected. Very human and thus very stupid.

Agreed.  This whole debacle is turning out to be a shameful episode in human history.   Countries expelling / preventing the entrance of foreigners.  Increased division and xenophobia like never before.  Really shows how little we've progressed as a society.  

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8 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Note:  I'm not sure if this thread belongs in Politics or as part of another existing thread

It might be interesting to discuss the success stories vs the failures so far in the COVID-19 pandemic.  My definition of "success" is based on the number of deaths compared to the number of confirmed cases. 

Success Stories:

  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Hong Kong
  • South Korea

Not so Successful:

Pretty much every other country.

Germany's numbers match up well against pretty much any country, even those on your success list.

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Canada seems to have done about the same number of tests as the US, despite the US having almost 10X the population.

Growth in cases, for both Countries, is still exponential with the US at a higher rate. Canada's numbers doubling every 3 days, the US's in less than 2.

Hopefully we see a flattening of the curves soon, or at least signs of it, as isolation measures show their effect.

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Posted (edited)

US in particular is gaining cases at an alarming rate. At the rate they are being counted (hopefully these are mostly ones discovered by increased testing rather than representing further spread) they will have the highest count of any country in less than a week, China included.

By limiting border crossings Canada is relatively isolated in comparison to the US doing the same. The US would have to do the same by dividing themselves up into, say, 9 isolating regions all reaching from East to West, to get a similar effect from that alone.

Edited by J.C.MacSwell

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1 hour ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

US in particular is gaining cases at an alarming rate. At the rate they are being counted (hopefully these are mostly ones discovered by increased testing rather than representing further spread) they will have the highest count of any country in less than a week, China included.

By limiting border crossings Canada is relatively isolated in comparison to the US doing the same. The US would have to do the same by dividing themselves up into, say, 9 isolating regions all reaching from East to West, to get a similar effect from that alone.

Be a tough sell.

Mobility is so much a part of our identity that restricting it between the States would see people up in arms, even ignoring the costs and people migrating of necessity to seek work.

I have a feeling the virus will have to be allowed to run its course with health services stuck handling the fallout.

 

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1 minute ago, Endy0816 said:

Be a tough sell.

Mobility is so much a part of our identity that restricting it between the States would see people up in arms, even ignoring the costs and people migrating of necessity to seek work.

I have a feeling the virus will have to be allowed to run its course with health services stuck handling the fallout.

 

Given Italy's results I'm not sure there will be a choice but to isolate some areas (obviously not based on my example which was more about isolating population in East/West strips to give reasonable "Canada like facsimiles") at least enough to allow medical supplies to catch up and "flatten the curve" enough to give health services a fighting chance. That should reduce the case load and death rates as well.

 

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19 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Germany's numbers match up well against pretty much any country, even those on your success list.

Germany is uncertain. They seemed to have a lucky start but were lagging in tracing and testing at the start. They have ramped up now and the next two weeks or so will provide more info. The current growth is still logarithmic.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, CharonY said:

Germany is uncertain. They seemed to have a lucky start but were lagging in tracing and testing at the start. They have ramped up now and the next two weeks or so will provide more info. The current growth is still logarithmic.

My comment was based on the OP's criteria for success for which you will have a hard time finding better numbers. If the growth in cases continues logarithmically they could look even better in that regard depending on whether the death rate follows suit or not.

I'm not sure why their current crude deaths/cases ratio is good. I don't believe they are happy based on that alone as they have just added curfews.

One of the advantages of "flattening the curve" in our respective countries is the extra time to compare numbers in other countries and seeing if something can be added or subtracted to make improvements. 

Obviously using the current crude ratio alone can't be the only criterion for success. Some of the living cases won't recover, but the dead won't come back to life.

 

 

Edited by J.C.MacSwell

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So, can someone please elucidate the end-game regarding COVID-19?  First, there' an attempt to flatten the curve so hospitals aren't overwhelmed, I understand that.  But then what?  I've heard no clear estimates from any government as far as how long this will last.  Some say 3 months, some 6 months, some a year or more.  

What is the most likely scenario for how this pandemic plays out?

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8 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

My comment was based on the OP's criteria for success for which you will have a hard time finding better numbers. If the growth in cases continues logarithmically they could look even better in that regard depending on whether the death rate follows suit or not.

 

Death rate is a bad measure until towards the end. The most important measure is the increase and coverage of testing. Germany is not doing too well on either of them. The reason being that there are only mitigating measures in severe cases. I.e. once overwhelmed due to high infections, the system crumbles and deaths increases. 

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40 minutes ago, CharonY said:

 

Death rate is a bad measure until towards the end. The most important measure is the increase and coverage of testing. Germany is not doing too well on either of them. The reason being that there are only mitigating measures in severe cases. I.e. once overwhelmed due to high infections, the system crumbles and deaths increases. 

Just read the UK medical top brass think it will settle around 1%.

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26 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Death rate is a bad measure until towards the end.  

I mostly agree and have said all along that it's incomplete.

I wouldn't go as far as saying it is bad though. It just needs to be taken in the right context, to the degree that may be possible with current information.

34 minutes ago, CharonY said:

The most important measure is the increase and coverage of testing. Germany is not doing too well on either of them. The reason being that there are only mitigating measures in severe cases. I.e. once overwhelmed due to high infections, the system crumbles and deaths increases. 

 I thought Germany had done more testing than most. Do have information to the contrary?

https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-testing-source-data

2 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Just read the UK medical top brass think it will settle around 1%.

Wouldn't that depend a lot on the availability of health care, especially ICUs, ventilators, treatments etc, so vary from place to place?

Or is that the expected average for Britain?

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12 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I mostly agree and have said all along that it's incomplete.

I wouldn't go as far as saying it is bad though. It just needs to be taken in the right context, to the degree that may be possible with current information.

 I thought Germany had done more testing than most. Do have information to the contrary?

https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-testing-source-data

Wouldn't that depend a lot on the availability of health care, especially ICUs, ventilators, treatments etc, so vary from place to place?

Or is that the expected average for Britain?

A pass on how it refers to other countries but probably that's countries with functioning health systems. CharonY might have an idea of the effect of variables. Demographics seems to be one, with Italy having a large elderly population and higher than is common elsewhere death rate..

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On 3/21/2020 at 2:50 AM, Alex_Krycek said:

My definition of "success" is based on the number of deaths compared to the number of confirmed cases. 

So a country like Zimbabwe is a success because it can not afford testing and no case will be confirmed.

Don't worry, we will have plenty of time to test epidemiological models over the coming months.

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6 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

 I thought Germany had done more testing than most. Do have information to the contrary?

The issue is that they started up late, most of the tests started up sometime around the second week of March. The response as a whole was not different from Italy. As such the outcome so far is more unexpected and could be a considered a lucky break rather than the outcome of some specific measures.

6 hours ago, StringJunky said:

A pass on how it refers to other countries but probably that's countries with functioning health systems. CharonY might have an idea of the effect of variables. Demographics seems to be one, with Italy having a large elderly population and higher than is common elsewhere death rate..

The age distribution as well as the fact that in Italy there is more intergenerational contact has been speculated to play a role. However, the other issue is that it has circulated for quite a while untracked and that the testing is still way behind the actual rate. Depending on which metrics you use, Germany is about as old or a smidge older (depending on what age brackets you make). 

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Posted (edited)

Best strategy is stay at home if you can.
And if you find yourself weakening, watch old movies like The Andromeda Strain, The Satan Bug, Contagion, 28 Days Later, Outbreak, 12 Monkeys, I Am Legend, or even Rise of the Planet of the Apes, to motivate you.

Edited by MigL

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14 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

So a country like Zimbabwe is a success because it can not afford testing and no case will be confirmed.

Obviously not.  

 

 

9 hours ago, CharonY said:

The age distribution as well as the fact that in Italy there is more intergenerational contact has been speculated to play a role.

The point about intergenerational contact is interesting.  It's ironic that consistent intergenerational contact was cited as one of the causes for longevity in a population.

9 hours ago, CharonY said:

However, the other issue is that it has circulated for quite a while untracked and that the testing is still way behind the actual rate. Depending on which metrics you use, Germany is about as old or a smidge older (depending on what age brackets you make). 

I have suspected this from the very beginning.  COVID-19 has probably been around for much longer than originally though, going unnoticed.   

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In Italy? a

8 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

 I thought Germany had done more testing than most. Do have information to the contrary?

Also, what I found symptomatic is that Germany is not doing well in reporting. The number of samples being tested (which do not equal number of patients) is apparently lifted from an media report. Elsewhere there are central data depositories where such data is collected. Due to the Federal system, as well as central coordination information flow has been problematic. It is supposed to begin getting organized now, but of course in pandemics time is of essence. 

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Judging by the empty toilet paper shelves ( and canned goods, dried pastas, etc. ) in the supermarket, I would say herd mentality, along with fear and panic, are much more contagious than COVID-19.

I  wonder if this opens the door to universal health care in the US, as this pandemic will likely have greater effect than 9/11 did.

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7 hours ago, MigL said:

Judging by the empty toilet paper shelves ( and canned goods, dried pastas, etc. ) in the supermarket, I would say herd mentality, along with fear and panic, are much more contagious than COVID-19.

I  wonder if this opens the door to universal health care in the US, as this pandemic will likely have greater effect than 9/11 did.

Suddenly Universal Basic Income doesn't seem like such a bad idea to most people.

I guess it's not socialism anymore now that they're affected.  

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2 hours ago, CharonY said:

In Italy? a

Also, what I found symptomatic is that Germany is not doing well in reporting. The number of samples being tested (which do not equal number of patients) is apparently lifted from an media report. Elsewhere there are central data depositories where such data is collected. Due to the Federal system, as well as central coordination information flow has been problematic. It is supposed to begin getting organized now, but of course in pandemics time is of essence. 

Not sure what you are referring to by the bold...

It seems most of the early cases were German skiers in Northern Italy, which would mean they would mostly be in a younger and fitter part of the population. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/guymartin/2020/03/20/with-its-covid-19-caseload-spiking-to-14000-heres-why-germanys-mortality-rate-is-002-or-4000-times-lower-than-italys/#1346c5d977ad

 

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