Saturday, March 28, 2020

Testing/quarantining

"Do try this at home: how one Italian town fought coronavirus" (Melville):
"The town, Vo Euganeo - population 3,300 - based in the heartlands of the most contaminated area of northern Italy, saw a cluster of cases of COVID-19 in the third week of February and was home to the country's first death from the virus, on February 21.

So, while the draconian measures taken in China to get the coronavirus under control may not be suitable for other countries, could we learn, instead, from this small Italian town?

Following the town's first death from coronavirus, the whole town was put under lockdown.

No one was allowed to enter or leave, while goods (medicines and food) could only reach the town if authorised to do so by the Prefetto, the central government representative in Padua. Then all of the town's 3,300 residents, including those with no symptoms, were tested for the virus starting from March 6.

This allowed quarantining of people who had been infected, before they showed any signs of infection and stopped any further spread of the coronavirus in its tracks.

Within 14 days, the virus had been eradicated from the community. This mass testing revealed that about 3 percent of residents were infected with the virus at that point, and, of these, about half were not showing any symptoms when they tested positive.

After two weeks of a strict lockdown of the entire town and the quarantine of infected patients, only 0.25 percent of residents were testing as infected. Vo Euganeo has not reported any new cases since Friday, March 13.

In the first round of testing, 89 people in Vo Euganeo tested positive. In the second round of testing, the number of positive cases had dropped to six.

Because of a combination of universal testing and lockdown across the entire town, Vo Euganeo managed to avoid the number of cases spiralling out of control, thereby minimising the risk of a huge demand on their health services. In effect, they nipped it in the bud by taking aggressive and decisive action early to stop the spread of the disease.
All of this was achieved with a 100 percent recovery rate for those previously infected."
We're still at the point where western governments won't mass test because they haven't got the tests available, and because lousy politicians fear the results would reflect badly on their inattention/corruption/incompetence (which includes not having the tests available, and thus a general inability to take the only steps that would end the crisis).
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