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China has managed to put COVIC-19 under control through effective procedures and strong organizational capabilities. If the European and US governments continue to combat COVIC-19 the wrong way (especially because of the lack of masks, advising healthy civilians to not wear face masks), worst case scenario will occur when the consequences of the virus outbreak is comparable to Spanish flu of 1918–infecting 50% of the world's population, killing 2.5%~5% of the world's population.
Is the death rate 0.5% or 5%？It depends on whether the hospital is overloaded. Let's take a look at the data.
The mortality rate in Wuhan is much higher than in other regions, mainly due to the hospital being overloaded.
For a critically ill COVIC-19 patient, his survival basically solely depends on whether he has access to a ventilator and pure oxygen.
Which leads to,
a、low infection rate × low mortality rate in areas with good epidemic prevention (in some areas away from Hubei Province in China, death toll of COVIC-19 is even lower than the number of deaths caused by traffic accidents).
b、high infection rate × high mortality rate in areas with poor epidemic prevention (may be 100 times worse than Wuhan with 50% of the population infected, and 5% patient death rate).
Wearing the face mask can not only protect yourself from the virus, but also can ensure that the patient do not infect others even at the incubation period. I’d like to stress again that the COVID-19 carrier shows no symptom of fever or cough during the incubation period, who looks like a health person but is contagious. Therefore, it is essential for every “look healthy” person to wear a face mask to prevent the incubatory carrier from spreading the disease.
The counties that do not advocate face mask wearing for all its civilians are likely to become poor epidemic prevention areas. Some may wonder: what if there are not enough masks for everyone? This very concern is the particular reason why European and US governments have only asked for infected patients to wear masks.
The problem of face mask shortage can be easily solved by ensuring there is one face mask for every civilian, and it can be reused after disinfecting procedures with dry heat or ultraviolet rays (not to spray the face mask with alcohol or to wash it).
The simple method of dry heat sterilization can be done by putting the face mask in a sealed, leak-proof container, then boil it in water for 10-20 minutes.
Does the face mask become less effective with reuse? Yes it does, for sure. However, it can still significantly block main transmission channels including droplets (especially if the patient wears it). From a mathematical point of view, masks can significantly lower R0, the basic reproduction number of the infection. We do not have to bring R0 to 0, as long as it is reduced from 2~3 to less than 1 (1 patient infects less than 1 person), the disease will not spread.
European and US governments are repeating an early mistake of Wuhan, which is to allow patients with minor symptoms to conduct the quarantine at their own home when the hospital reaches its full capacity (Italy has begun to repeat this mistake). The average civilians have no way of knowing how to use fans to create negative pressure quarantine environment (nor are they likely to create an effective one even if they attempt to). Having the patient living in a room at home = no isolation effect, which means, minor symptoms in one person = infection of the whole family and even neighbors from the same floor and the same community.
The improvement of the situation in Wuhan began with the creation of module hospitals. Module hospital is a special kind of hospital with a large number of beds, which is urgently established to quarantine the mild patients. Module hospitals are mainly used for quarantine purpose instead of treatment, there is a handful of medical personnel and facilities, if the mild patients become severely ill, they will be transferred to hospital for further treatment.
Wuhan has transformed a large number of module hospitals from public facilities (gymnasiums, schools, etc.), putting a large number of minor symptom patients under quarantine speedily, cutting off the family infection route, and making the turning point of COVIC-19 inflection in Wuhan.
The conclusion is simple: face masks for all, wash your hands frequently + be sure to get tested if there is any symptom + quarantine in shelter hospitals when minor symptoms are shown. Along with cessation of large-scale gatherings, it is sufficient to reduce basic reproduction number R0 to lower than 1 and stop the outbreak. These procedures are not complicated. It mainly depends on efficiency of governmental organization and implementation.
Areas that are severely infected by the virus should be locked down in quarantine in order to timely stop the virus spread. For areas with minor infections, all work and social activities should continue except for large-scale assemblies and gatherings (in order to avoid greater economic loss).
European and US governments lag far behind China in terms of organizational capabilities. China managed to build two infectious disease hospitals with thousands of beds in 8 days, the same might be expected to be accomplished by Europe or US in 8 weeks if things go well. The prevention and treatment of infectious disease is an objective math problem, the final score matters not which political tendency or religious beliefs you hold, it matters only the right practice you take.
China scored 90 points in solving this math problem at a cost of national lockout for more than a month. I don’t expect the European and US governments could combat COVIC-19 with a score of 90, but please make sure to get at least the passing score: 60 points. Please don’t waste China’s effort and sacrifices, please don’t let the COVID-19 become another version of the Spanish flu.
If you’re reading this, please call your district senator and have them prompt the government to stop the epidemic the right way: comprehensive testing, establishment of module hospitals, and minor symptom patient quarantine. Most importantly, make sure to wear a face mask, even if it is sterilized and reused.
If your area discriminates against or even attacks people who wear face masks, you can wrap a scarf outside the mask to cover it up.