Many countries are showing that the strategy of China, Singapore and South Korea also works in Europe - to aggressively find cases, isolate them, trace contacts and isolate them. They now need to keep this up.
Italy is now down to a 4% increase per day - that’s a doubling time of 17 days. It’s down from a doubling time of just 5 days a fortnight ago. Italy looks to be well past its exponential rise, and even over the stage of a linear increase too. The cases per day are decreasing significantly.
Doubling time of 17 days = [log(2)/log(1+4/100)]
Doubling time of 5 days = [log(2)/log(1+13/100)]
Its cases per day are definitely on the down turn.
Spain is down to a 6.5% increase per day
Although the daily increase is the highest so far you need to look at the % increase and that is way down on the last week, less than half what it was a week ago - it’s at a doubling time of 11 days.
Germany shows signs of getting towards its peak, down to 8.8% from 15% a fortnight ago.
Iceland also shows signs that it is getting its outbreak under control - it’s one of the countries with the most thorough testing and rigorous quarantine and control. Anyone can get tested, symptomatic or asymptomatic and it has tested a higher proportion of its population than any other country.
Iceland has tested 9 768 individuals for COVID-19, which translates to 26 762 per million, compared with 6 343 in South Korea and 13 999 in Bahrein
Iceland has tested a higher proportion of inhabitants than any other country after deCode genetics started offering free screening among the general, non-symptomatic, non-quarantined population
With the lock downs in many countries, we have optimal conditions to do this with far fewer contacts to trace, making the contact tracing easier in the general population. But we have to find these contacts and isolate them properly - in China in Wuhan they kept them away from their families to protect their families, in separate temporary wards for mild cases in stadiums, community centers etc, where all the patients had COVID-19. The WHO only recommends isolation at home if you are not able to isolate them in separate accommodation from non COVID-19 people, and then only after a clinical assessment to make sure the family is able to isolate the COVID-19 patient adequately.
We should be doing the same.
The reason for this advice is that only 1 in 10 or less of those in the same family as someone with COVID-19 get it, even taking no precautions, yet this is also where most transmission happens. So the top priority should be to reduce transmission in households.
The WHO warned recently that we have to keep this up, not let up as the cases per day go down, but aggressively go after them and suppress the remaining cases. It won’t go down to zero by itself but it can if we go after it.
- WHO - With countries under lockdown most transmission is now in families - need to find and go after those cases and isolate them from the rest of the family
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. If scared of COVID-19 the main message on a personal level is you can protect yourself, following the advice of the WHO, see my:
- How To Protect Yourself From COVID-19 - And Help Stop The Spread - If Everyone Did This The Epidemic Would Soon Stop
Please share this widely with other scared people and especially with scientists, politicians and decision makers in the UK
WHY ISN’T THE UK DOING THIS?
The reason the UK has different policies from the WHO recommendations is that we are using a simulated flu to guide policy rather than data from the real disease.
Key differences between UK simulated flu and reality
- The virus that causes COVID-19 is NOT airborne [except for some medical procedures] - spread through droplets that fall to ground in seconds ✔
The simulated virus is airborne and can be transmitted just by breathing X
- Most of the transmission in China (perhaps 75 to 85%) happened in households. Most of the rest is through other forms of close or prolonged contact. ✔
A third of the transmission happens in the community to random strangers X
- Nearly all transmission of COVID-19 is from cases that show noticeable symptoms at some point ✔
A third of the transmission is through asymptomatic cases X
On point 1, there are many stories claiming that this virus is airborne. No it's not. Except for some medical procedures such as intubation.
This makes a big difference to the study as it means you can't get it from random strangers in the community by just breathing the air they breathed out. No evidence of this yet. They need to be talking at close quarters or coughing or sneezing, or get it via contact including touching surfaces they coughed or sneezed on and then your eyes nose or mouth.
For points 2 and 3 see the sections below::
The simulated flu that guides the UK policy is also infectious from 12 hours before to 7 days after symptoms start.
The real disease is infectious from several days before symptoms start through to death, or through to up to two weeks after recovery for patients that recover.
Flu is a different disease, upper rather than lower respiratory tract, airborne, has asymptomatic spreaders that never get the disease, infectious for a shorter period (12 hours before to 7 days after onset of symptoms), and many members of the same household likely are infected by the time the first symptoms are noticed.
Flu can’t be contained except by the most draconian measures of extreme physical distancing of everyone from everyone and the key to slowing it down is to reduce community transmission to random strangers which almost never happens for COVID-19, perhaps a few percent of all transmissions if that.
This has a big effect on UK policy:
For details see my
- COVID-19 Does Not Transmit Like Simulated Flu - UK's Policy Fact Checked Against WHO Recommendations And Scientific Evidence
You expect modelers to believe their models. Normally you have others with other models and it's a dialog between each other and with the scientific evidence. That dialog was bypassed here and in the emergency it seems that our national health policy was developed based on the research of one particular model and group of modelers.
We need some independent authority or watchdog, I think, to check our national health policies are evidence based, fact checked against the scientific evidence and with a broad base of support.
YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THIS DISEASE
Because this disease is not airborne - you can't catch it just by breathing in the air that someone else breathed out. The droplets that transmit it fall to the ground in seconds and don't travel further than a meter or two.
This is why hand washing is so effective against this disease. You can’t totally stop yourself getting flu and some colds, except with extreme physical distancing from other people, keeping meters away, because you can get it just by breathing in the air they breathe out.
But you can stop yourself getting this disease.
You must wash your hands thoroughly, and you must get out of the habit of touching your face or not touch your eyes, nose or mouth except with thoroughly washed hands. You must also stand 1 to 2 meters away from anyone coughing, sneezing or talking and not shake hands or get up close while talking. Instead greet with hand on heart, namaste from distance, wave, air high five etc.
We need to keep dong this until the general community in the UK is free from this virus. But you can do that! It becomes a routine. This should be as automatic as buckling up your seat belt when you get in a car.
Text on image: Dr Bruce Aylward after 9 days visiting China's worst COVID19 hotspots
"I don't have COVID-19 - I am very low risk"
- Wash hands thoroughly
- Stay 1-2 meters from anyone coughing, sneezing or talking to you.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth [wash hands before touching]
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow
OR cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it into a bin immediately.
and you too can be protected from COVID-19
Find out more here:
- How To Protect Yourself From COVID-19 - And Help Stop The Spread - If Everyone Did This The Epidemic Would Soon Stop
CALLS ON UK TO CHANGE POLICY
We are getting some people in the UK calling on us to change our policy and I was glad to see on the news yesterday that Chris Morrison from Reality Check mentioned the complete WHO recommendations, I think the first time I have seen it mentioned on the BBC. He talked, about needing to do the isolation, contact tracing and quarantine - the whole thing.
The UK are beginning to get impressed by the success of Germany - it's as I thought once we have examples in Europe then we are more likely to notice them. The closer their historical ties to the UK, the more impressed we get.
We have much stronger historical ties with Germany than South Korea. Indeed our royal family, the House of Windsor - Wikipedia is German in origin. It shouldn’t make a difference - why should we pay more attention to the country our Queen’s family originated from? But humans are not just pure creatures of logic, we are also affected by our emotional connections and by people we regard as authoritative.
People in the UK are starting to say "look Germany is managing to control its outbreak and it did lots of testing early - and South Korea did - so - could the UK do that?"
I think the more examples the better.
At some point it will become overwhelming and we will have to change direction.
The former health secretary Jeremy Hunt is asking our government to follow the WHO recommendations on COVID19. Not just mass testing, also quarantine and contact tracing, all on an unprecedented scale. His op ed is here:
I wrote an article to explore what that might involve. It’s going to be massive indeed but we can rise to it. We are building entire new hospitals like the Nightingale hospital which will care for up to 4000 patients on ventilators. See Nightingale hospital in London to treat less critical Covid-19 cases
If we can convert an arena into a field hospital for 4000 patients in critical care in a fortnight, surely we can find a way to increase testing capacity for diagnostic tests, with new laboratories and new machines to test them?
There are machines that can test 2,500 a day. 10 of those machines would test 25,000 a day and 400 of them would test a million a day. We should be investigating whether we can ramp up and build all those machines (with license from Roche diagnostics) or find out how else the UK can increase the diagnostic capacity of the world. Not just for ourselves, for others too. We should be at the forefront, not just testing everyone in the UK that needs tests, but in a massive war like effort, exporting diagnostic tests to the rest of the world! We are all in this together.
Dr Tedros put it like this - here I am rewriting it slightly to help autistic readers with more direct speech (his speech is a bit indirect and can confuse autistic people)
Summary: I gave a message yesterday to the G20 countries
- Fight to stop the virus with every resource we have at our disposal
- Unite to confront the virus. No country can fight this virus alone. We can only fight it together.
- Ignite the industrial might and innovation of the G20 to make the tools we need to save lives and distribute those tools to the people who need them.
We must promise future generations that this will never happen again. Viral outbreaks are a` fact of life. But we can influence how much damage a viral outbreak does
Making these diagnostic machines and other tools we need is part of his
3. Ignite the industrial might and innovation of the G20 to make the tools we need to save lives and distribute those tools to the people who need them.
The speech is here:
For more about all this, see my: