On march 15, 2020 4: 00
Slowing the epidemic of Covid-19 : 3 things to know
The Detector rumors
In spite of appearances, the spread of the Covid-19 may be slowing down. At least, in areas that have been infected initially. How long before the United States and Canada have experienced a decline in the daily number of new cases? The Detector of rumors sums up the essence in a few graphics.
1) the Significant slowdown in China
On 6 march, the Hubei province, the epicentre of the epidemic in China, was experiencing his first day without new case outside of its capital city, Wuhan. A success which reflected a notable slowdown of the daily number of new cases of infection compared to previous weeks. According to the european Centre for disease prevention and control, the number of new cases in the whole of China had reached a peak of 15 141 13 February. It had then decreased each day, reaching only 24 new cases on march 12.
In the first week of march, approximately 65% of Chinese who received a diagnosis of infection Covid-19 in the previous three weeks, were better or had left the hospital, according to the news agency Bloomberg. Since this date, the number of people healed or recovering from surgery is 20 times higher than that of infected persons in China.
A slowdown similar to the total number of infections has also been observed in South Korea, as shown in the chart below, derived from data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University. In this country, the number of new cases daily has been in decline since the beginning of the month.
John Hopkins U.
2) Flatten the curve
These data remind us that it is possible to “flatten the curve”. A graph of the Center of american control of diseases (CDC) is about to become viral on social networks since last week. It illustrates the reason for the flattening of the curve is desirable, or the goal to be achieved. Indeed, with sufficient preventive measures, the number of cases of infection could be spread in time and would have as a result of putting less pressure on the health system.
These measures (quarantine of cities or entire regions, cancellation of mass gatherings, school closures, telecommuting, social isolation voluntary or compulsory), would therefore not prevent infections, but they would have the consequence of slowing down the spread within the population.
In several countries, including the United States, it has not yet arrived to slow down the progression of the epidemic, either because of significant delays in the application of screening tests, either because of the lack of screening kits. For example, on 10 march, the New York Times revealed that the Centre of control and prevention of diseases (CDC) had processed approximately 8500 nasal samples since the outbreak of the epidemic. Compared, at the beginning of march, the South Korea had reached the 10 000 samples… per day.
3) How long before a downturn ?
With its massive efforts of screening and prevention, it took South Korea 41 days to reduce the daily number of new cases, from the time of the first known infection. Or 11 days, if we calculate rather from the 19 February, the day on which the number of cases of infection has jumped from 2 to 34.
The other hand, a pessimistic view is found in Italy : three weeks ago, recalls canadian journalist Julia Belluz, there were only three confirmed cases. As of march 11, there were 12,000 cases and 800 deaths, the highest figures in the world, after China. In spite of the quarantine, which began in the north and extended a few days ago the rest of the country, the hospitals in italy were outside this week, to the point of having to delay surgery and rationing of care. It is also possible that these results are atypical to the fact that it is the oldest population in western Europe.