Good news - one small Italian town, Vo Euganeo, has completely stopped its outbreak by rigorously testing everyone in the community including those who were asymptomatic. To do that they disregarded a directive from their government to only test those who had symptoms.
Even China didn’t do that, or Singapore. They only tested those with fever or respiratory disease symptoms.
Vo Euganeo is in Veneto which has had consistently lower case numbers than the other provinces and has had the most rigorous approach to case finding.
With their first test they found that 3 percent tested positive (that would be about 90 out of 3300). After 2 weeks lockdown they tested again and only 0.3% tested positive (that would be 9 cases approx) and they have had no new cases for days.
“the lesson we learned is that isolating all positive cases, whether they were sick or not, we were able to reduce transmission by 90 percent and we found that all those who were still positive were all without symptoms”
Talking about what they did on Italian TV:
"No war was won only by creating hospitals, the weapons to win are quarantine, containment and active surveillance."
Starting from the hospital in Padua where “following the Chinese example, we immediately checked all the staff and patients to prevent anyone who entered from infecting anyone else or becoming infected.
It is our merit, even if we have disregarded the ministerial directives that did not allow to carry out tests on asymptomatic drugs ”.
Then they used the same strategy in Vò Euganeo: "We took swabs from everyone from the first moment, discovering that 3% of the population was positive, but that more than half had no symptoms".
The isolation of asymptomatics meant that two weeks later: “the number of positives has gone from 3% to 0.3% or a reduction of 90%.
If we had these numbers all over Italy, we would have a party ”.
Veneto's strategy now is to extend the samples as much as possible: “Our goal is to go from 1500 to 5000 tests in a week. If we don't identify cases one by one, we won't eliminate the disease . "
See also article in the independent
This is in Italian, but you can switch on subtitles then go to auto translate to see the subtitles in English. It doesn’t say much just that 90% reduction figure but may be of interest.
(click to watch on Youtube)
This is another article I'm writing to support people we help in the Facebook Doomsday Debunked group, that find us because they get scared, sometimes to the point of feeling suicidal about it, by such stories.
HOW ABOUT OTHER COUNTRIES?
It would take a massive scale up of tests to do this for a country the size of the UK, say, or a city the size of New York.
As with Vo Euganeo then the hospitals are a natural place to begin. To test all the patients and health workers and get them virus free.
Then go on to make sure, surgeries, clinics and GPs are virus free and know how to use personal protection equipment correctly.
Then to move to communities with high levels of COVID19 which by then may be under lock down.
There are machines by Roche diagnostics that can test 1000 samples a day - a thousand of those machines could test a million a day though I don’t know how practical that is.
The widely available Roche’s cobas 6800/8800 Systems, which are used to perform the cobas SARS-CoV-2 Test, provide test results in three and half hours and offer improved operating efficiency, flexibility, and fastest time-to-results with the highest throughput providing up to 96 results in about three hours and a total of 384 results for the cobas 6800 System and 960 results for the cobas 8800 System in 8 hours. The test can be run simultaneously with other assays provided by Roche for use on the cobas 6800/8800 Systems.
Roche’s cobas SARS-CoV-2 Test to detect novel coronavirus receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization and is available in markets accepting the CE mark
This means the 6800 can do over 1000 tests a day. The 8800 can do over 2500 a day.
Other small towns or countries could do this more easily. E.g. Luxembourg, a wealthy country with a population of 600,000 and with 1,605 cases
Suppose you spread the tests over 3 days, you could test the entire population with about 200 of the 6800 machines.
Or Iceland, population of 364,260 and 890 cases
can do this with about 100 machines of the 6800s
Or Monaco, population only 38,695 and 31 cases
Spread over three days you could test the entire population of Monaco with 12 of those cobas 6800 System or 5 of the 8800’s.
Meanwhile over the whole of Italy the cases per day are no longer increasing but are leveled off and coming down. This shows it is no longer exponential but linear or less than linear, definitely coming under control.
For more about this see my
- COVID19 outbreak in Italy is continuing to show signs of slowing down - cases per day may have already peaked
Until we can test everyone, then contact tracing is the way to go:
Be sure to know how to protect yourself and how to wash your hands properly