I am glad to read that 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:
We can do this. The cobas 8800 by Roche Diagnostics can test 2,500 samples a day.
400 of those machines would test a million samples a day.
Text on image: We need to ramp up production of these like we ramped up production of spitfires in WWII
400 of these machines can test 1 million samples for COVID-19 per day
Cobas 6800 by Roche Diagnostics.
This machine can test 2,500 COVID19 samples a day
Image from this post: Blood Center Now Testing for Zika
for details see So what should we do? in my longer article
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 WHO are already preparing to increase their test kits to send to countries with weakened health care systems. According to their own projections in worst case the number of tests need to increase 80 to 100 fold by a few months from now. They are already working public / private partnerships to achieve this.
If we look forward in this epidemic and we project ourselves forward a number of months and the amount of testing that's going to be needed, we need to scale that up approximately 80 to 100 times so it's not about doubling the availability of lab tests, it's not about trebling it. It's about potentially increasing that 80-fold. That's an extreme analysis but that's what we need to aim for and the director-general outlined the mechanisms by which we're going to achieve that, working with the public/private partnership and scaling up production and access to tests as they are needed.
UK GOVERNMENT TESTING HUNDREDS OF HEALTH CARE WORKERS IN CRITICAL CARE - THIS MUST SCALE UP
The UK government is testing hundreds of health care workers in critical care this weekened, which they rightly are prioritizing.
From experience in other countries it must have got into our hospitals by now. In Italy, nearly 5000 health care workers have got the virus as of March 20th. As of writing this, 50 Italian doctors have died of COVID-19 so far. That includes 21 GPs, and 4 dentists, amongst others. You can read the list here with Google Translate (continually updated).
We are the first country in the world not to test patients and health workers for mild COVID-19 (Netherlands have now followed our example sadly). We are likely to have many more infected health care workers than Italy by now.
Text: Many of our 1.2 million NHS health workers could have COVID-19
They can infect several days before they show symptoms
Image from here: Workforce
We need to massively increase testing. Our top priority has to be to test these workers. The ones with symptoms of course, but they can also infect for several days before they have symptoms. So we have to contact trace all the ones found.
We don't have to test all the 1.2 million NHS health workers, symptomatic or asymptomatic. But if we want to stop it real fast that's what to do. Meanwhile all with symptoms have to be tested, quarantined for the correct period recommended by the WHO and also used by the UK before it moved to the “Delay” phase (not just 7 days or 14 days in household) and contacts traced and isolated for 14 days to see if they develop symptoms.
Those nurses and doctors with COVID-19 may be spreading it in the community days before they develop symptoms. So if we find someone with it, we must contact trace everyone else they have had close contact with in the previous few days and isolate them for 14 days.
They are just the start. We have to test everyone with symptoms in the UK. and trace their contacts too.
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.
Please share this widely and especially, let's try to get the attention of decision makers in the UK, also journalists and any experts who may have the ear of politicians.
MASSIVE SCALE UP IN DIAGNOSTIC TESTING
We need to scale up mass production of these machines, or other forms of testing, for ourselves and the world.
But we can do this. We could mobilize defense money levels of spending on COVID-19. After all we would spend billions on a major war. Why not on a war against a virus?
In WWIII we had factories just to manufacture spitfires by the hundreds - a total of 22,000 were built during WWII..
We can do something similar but this time make machines to test for COVID-19 by the hundreds or even the thousands, to test millions of samples a day. Those machines then will be there for everyday medical use in the future and for the next pandemic.
We can do this for a war against human enemies and we can do it to fight a virus.
No other country has let it spread in their health care system like us. Let us show the world how we can fight back!
MASSIVE SCALE UP IN CONTACT TRACING
We need to do contact tracing, just as we did before 11th March, but in a massive way, more massive than any other country has done to date. Since only the more severe cases are counted, then wew are likely to have several times the recorded number of cases to find and contact trace.
Text: We must resume contact tracing on a MASSIVE scale
China, South Korea and Italy have all shown how to do it even with thousands of cases.
We have a HUGE challenge now but we can RISE TO IT with the LEGENDARY British fighting spirit
The graphic is one the UK government used to explain contact tracing before it stopped doing it. See Coronavirus (COVID-19) Expert interview: What is contact tracing?
Here a contact means someone they had close or prolonged personal contact with. It is not just someone else at the same place of work or in the same building.
For a striking example of this contact tracing see my
Or, if we can ramp the diagnostic tests up enough, we test everyone symptomatic or asymptomatic like Vo Eugeano did. If we do that we can stop this very fast.
Vo Euganeo reduced its number of COVID-19 cases 90% in two weeks and after that had no new cases. They are the only community so far anywhere in the world to test absolutely all of their population. They started by clearing out the virus from a hospital - and then continued to the entire population of their small town..
- Good News From Italy: COVID 19 Outbreak Halted In Italian Town Of Vo Euganeo At Record Speed - 90 To 0 New Cases In Two Week
PHYSICAL DISTANCING IS A DEFENSIVE MEASURE - MUST GO AFTER VIRUS, FIND AND CONTAIN IT
Physical distancing is just a defensive measure. We need to aggressively attack and win this game, not just try to defend ourselves.
For details see What do the WHO recommend we do? in my longer article
Our real priorities for COVID19 according to the WHO
- Test all suspected cases for COVID19, isolate them while waiting for the test, and isolate anyone who has it.
- Trace all contacts of confirmed cases from 2 days before onset of symptoms. Ask all contacts to quarantine themselves until 14 days after the contact
- Test all contacts for COVID19 if they show any symptoms.
- Isolate anyone who has it all the way through to 14 days after they feel completely better (or two tests that are negative 24 hours apart.
- Physical distancing is a defensive measure. All it can do is to buy us time. We can’t win without going after the virus
And we must increase the quarantine period. 7 days is not adequate. 14 days for those in a household is not adequate. Many with the mild disease may be no longer infectious but if they go on to develop the severe disease in the second week they continue to be infectious through to up to two weeks after symptoms cease or through to death if they die.
UK POLICY GUIDED BY SIMULATED FLU NOT REAL COVID19
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
There are many stories claiming that this virus is ariborne. No it's not. Except for some medical procedures such as intubation.there are many stories claiming that this virus is ariborne. No it's not. Except for some medical procedures such as intubation.
With influenza this random transmission is often through short distance airborne transmission. This is possible for influenza viruses particularly in crowded enclosed spaces.
SARS was airborne and there was clear evidence from many cases.
But COVID-19 can't do that. The WHO have found no clear evidence for COVID19 - occasional reports that suggest it is get retracted as flaws are found in them. By now with SARS we would have had numerous clear evidence based studies proving it to be airborne as that became clear early on.
. This is where Dr Maria von Kerkhove who heads the WHO COVID-19 response team says that Covid-19 is not airborne and the latest advice of the WHO as of the science brief on 29th March continues to be that airborne precautions are only needed for certain medical procedures
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.
Our use of a simulated flu pandemic instead of the real thing has had a huge effect on our policy
UK policy compared with WHO recommendations
- WHO: COVID19 can be stopped ✔
UK: COVID19 can’t be stopped but it can be delayed X
- WHO: Test every suspected case of COVID19 ✔
UK: Only test if the patient needs an overnight stay in a hospital. X
- WHO: Caring for infected people at home may put others at risk. E.g the patient and carer must both wear medical masks. ✔
UK: If you are infected with suspected COVID-19 it is likely others in your household are infected already or will get infected - no need for masks X
- WHO: Isolate a confirmed case from everyone including their household. Trace anyone a confirmed case was in close contact with and quarantine them for 14 days to see if they get symptoms ✔
UK: Everyone with CVOID-19 like symptoms should stay at home with their household for 14 days [or 7 days if living alone]. No need to trace contacts X
For details see Some of the key differences between the UK policy and the WHO recommendations in my longer article
We have to STOP using a simulated disease to guide policy and return to the recommendations of the WHO.
The model has to be updated to match reality urgently before it can be of value for policy in the real world.
For details and cites:
For details and cites:
THIS IS A STEALTHY VIRUS - THE FIRST WEEK OR SO IS MILD FOR EVERYONE
This disease seems mild for the first week but a significant number end up in intensive care and then die. It's stealthy, countries think they have it under control when they don't.
When Boris Johnson, Prince Charles, the health secretary Matt Hancock, etc. say they have only the mild version of COVID-19 - this is true for everyone in the first week and means nothing. It is better called the “mild stage”.
As a rough guide, 80% never progress to the severe stage but 20% do, and need hospital care. About 5% need invasive ventilation, and maybe 1% die. The deaths ramp up from a fraction of a percent who die below age 40 through to nearly 20% at age 90+.
It is a random thing. A small fraction of young healthy people die. The majority even of those over 90 with underlying health conditions never progress beyond the mild stage and recover.
YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THIS DISEASE
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.
- How To Protect Yourself From COVID-19 - And Help Stop The Spread - If Everyone Did This The Epidemic Would Soon Stop
The 13 international experts who studied China for the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 visited the worst hot spots for the virus in China for 9 days and examined them closely in detail. They spent the last 1.5 days in Wuhan/
They took these precatuions and were able to come away again without even needing quarantine and say "I am not a contact for COVID 19, I don't have it, I am very low risk".
That's over a month ago. You see Maria van Kerkhove on every WHO press conference - remind yourself she spent 9 days touring virus hotspots in China and she doesn't have COVID 19.
By following the same methods as these experts, you not only protect yourself, you also stop all the transmission chains that could go through you to others.
You won’t get it from walking past strangers who don’t talk to you or cough in your face. Even with close or prolonged contact, most people don’t get it. For instance if one in a couple gets it, the usual thing is that their partner doesn’t, even with no precautions. So your risk is low even if someone does cough in your face, but take these precautions and it can’t get to you.
Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Prince Charles and the others who recently tested positive in the UK, just didn't take this advice seriously. Professor Neil Fergusson also tested positive, as he tweeted on the 19th March, the lead author of the Imperial College study.
I speak so often to people in the UK by PM who have no idea how important this is, or even know how to do it properly.
But follow this advice correctly and you can be safe from it. Not only that, every one of you is doing your bit to stop it spreading to others.
For details see:
I am sure we WILL do this - the British people have faced many things in the past and can do so again. Also with the strong physical distancing measures so far the government have shown their determination to do this too. But they are still missing out three quarters of what we need to do.
It is just a question of WHEN we start on this, based on the real world WHO recommendations and the experience of what has worked from other countries.