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Episode 2: Act Now or We Will Die Later with the Coronavirus


Ready for the second episode of this series? Since the last time we wrote until now, things have become even more complicated in our world, since the Coronavirus does not stop and was even classified as a pandemic by the WHO. Are you ready to act

Since a few hours ago we wrote the first episode of this series, things have gotten complicated. Coronavirus cases in Germany, for example, went from 271 cases to 1,567. In addition, in the state of Washington they have declared an emergency.

Not only that, as we said in the first episode, countries will begin to close, just as China did a few weeks ago. Already in the United States, there is strong discussion banning the entry of anyone who has set foot on the European continent. All due to the pandemic.

What should countries do about the Coronavirus?

If you want to understand what could happen or how to prevent it, it is a matter of looking at what China did. Not only with Coronavirus, but with SARS in 2003.

Pandemic - Coronavirus cases outside of Wuhan, China.
Coronavirus cases outside of Wuhan, China.

This is one of the most revealing graphics that Tomas Pueyo shows us. Since it explains how China successfully stopped the exponential growth of the Coronavirus in its territory (outside the city of Wuhan).

What did China do?

It cannot be denied that, at the beginning, there was a very bad management of the situation, which allowed and accelerated what we are witnessing today. However, it is also true that China and its inhabitants have handled the situation exemplary.

It can be seen in the graph above that on January 21, the number of newly diagnosed cases is growing exponentially, adding 1,500 new cases in the same day. But the authorities did not have the exact information on how many cases were inside their territory. In most cases, they found out for every 100 new cases registered.

Two days later, the authorities closed Wuhan. At that time, the number of new cases diagnosed daily was approximately 2,500.

The next day, 15 cities in the Hubei region closed. Until that day, January 23, it can be seen how the infected grew exponentially.

Two days later, the maximum number of registered cases was reached and, since then, that number has decreased.

The rest of the regions of China were well coordinated by the central government, so they took immediate and drastic measures. And this is the important thing, taking measurements.

Why does South Korea have another focus and the rest of Asia does not?

The answer is simple: Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong. After China turned on the alerts, these countries applied what they learned with the SARS virus in 2003. They took action.

Governments and their citizens knew exactly what to do. Avoid contact in greetings, wear face masks, in case you are infected, do not infect anyone else, the awareness of going directly to the hospital if you have any symptoms or if you traveled to Wuhan City in previous days.

On the part of the State, the immediate ban on mass gatherings, such as soccer or baseball games, concerts, and even some work, began with what we said in the first episode: “social distancing.” And finally, prepare their hospitals for the tsunami of people they would receive in the coming months.


Are the figures on the Coronavirus reliable?

You have already seen growth in Western countries and what bad forecasts look like. Now imagine that contention does not occur as in Asia. Just today, after weeks of the virus’s appearance, they are taking the measures.

Stock indices around the world have reacted with a further drop. Partly due to the worsening of news from Europe, and the fear that spreads. And because the WHO has finally said the magic word: Pandemic!

The cases of this pandemic have tripled in Europe today, which has caused, finally, the continent to start taking measures similar to those taken by China and the Asian countries with SARS in 2003.

The figures express that there are more than 118,381 cases in the world. But is this really the number? The truth is that these cases are only of people who have gone to the hospitals or been notified about their condition.

This is a problem: only the official cases are known, not the real ones. But you need to know the real ones. How can you estimate them? It turns out that there are a couple of ways, as the journalist tells us.

Through the deaths

If you have deaths in your region, you can use that to guess the number of actual current cases. We know approximately how long it takes for that person to go from contracting the virus to dying on average: 17.3 days.

Then, taking the mortality rate for non-outbreak regions, which is around 1%, you can then assume that there are 100 other people contaminated.

Taking the average doubling rate of 6.2. It means that in those 17 days it took the person to die, the cases had to be multiplied by ~ 8 (= 2 ^ (17/6)). That means there are at least 800 cases by that person’s date of death.

Coronavirus is our hidden neighbor

With the number of confirmed cases in countries such as the United States, Spain, France, Iran, Germany, Japan or Switzerland, Wuhan was already blocked. Plus, with your new pandemic rating, you’re more likely to be closer to your country than you think.

What will happen in our countries when it arrives? It is easy to know, because we already have several places where it is happening. The best examples are Hubei and Italy.

The WHO states that the death rate from this pandemic is 3.4%. But, according to the journalist, that number is out of context. Since there are as many different figures as 0.6% in South Korea and 4.4% in Iran.

What for Tomas Pueyo shows that it depends on the country, the death rate will depend.

  • Countries that are overwhelmed will have a mortality rate between 3% and 5% (Iran).
  • Countries that are prepared will see a death rate of about 0.5% (South Korea) to 0.9% (rest of China).

Everything will depend on the measures taken by the governments or by yourself.

“Fast-acting countries can reduce the number of deaths by ten. And that’s just counting the death rate. Acting fast also dramatically reduces cases, making it even more obvious. ”

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