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How can the world act in a way that stops the spread of virus outbreaks (such as Covid-19) while controlling misinformation and public fear and ensuring economic prosperity?

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Background:

Since humans began to leave their nomadic lives behind and settle in groups, large virus outbreaks have plagued us. Whether it was the black death, or yellow fever, or spanish flu, SARS, and now Covid-19. Viruses have always impacted our lives. But most of these viruses were around before science so people did not know how to protect themselves. For example the black death was estimated to have a 30-90% fatality rate while left untreated but with modern science and medicine the fatality rate is reduced to 10%. Science has helped find the safer actions that can help minimise the damages of these viruses. For example the SARS outbreak was continued due to science. But even modern tools virus outbreaks continue to periodically wreak havoc on humanity. Viruses are deadly but also can wreck a prosperous economy and worsen people’s mental health. So how can we simultaneously minimise the damage to all three of these categories at the same time.

Synthesis:

Good Background on pandemics and source for Info on Black Death.

Covid-19 Timeline:

On December 31st, Wuhan officials discovered a large increase in Pneumonia with an unknown cause. On January 7th, the cause is determined to be a new coronavirus. On January 11th, the first death was reported. On January 20th, the virus began to spread to other countries. On the 30th of January, the World Health organization declared a global health emergency. On the 31st, the US restricted travel from China. The virus continues to spread around Asia and eventually further. By late March much of the world is in quarantine and as of now April 22nd there are 2.5 million confirmed cases. 

Source for confirmed cases:

https://ncov2019.live/

Countries responses:

Safi, Michael, et al. “Germany and Norway Ease Lockdowns but Spain and FraSource: www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/19/israel-and-south-korea-to-ease-coronavirus-lockdowns.

This infographic shows the rate of increase, because it uses the log scale of the virus in several countries. You can see how countries such as South Korea and Israel rates leveled off much earlier. This is because of their swift and strict actions. South Korea was one of the first non-Chinese countries to be infected with Covid-19. They implemented stay-at-home orders and tested people rigorously. Israel locked down in early march before they had any deaths from Covid. Both countries show that acting quickly can have a huge impact on how contained the virus is. Some other countries used similar measures but had much more infections because they acted too late. Because of their ability to contain the virus are now able to begin to slowly ease restrictions. 

 

For Now Response:

In order to be able to act the government and companies must know about the presence of a virus. This is why it is important that hospitals run mathematical models in order to see if the increase in patients with certain symptoms is big enough that there might be a virus present. If this model predicts that there may be a virus. Then hospitals should inform the government and test to figure out if there’s a virus and what the nature of it is. This should all be done quickly yet accurately because time is everything when dealing with exponential growth. Once a virus is detected then people should be put in quarantine until scientists and politicians figure out the best action plans. First, governments should act swiftly as it is better to be over precautious in the early stages. Government should work with the media to provide accurate information and keep the public complaint and calm. Government should provide a stimulus package that will keep small businesses and individuals from being decimated. Government should act in unity throughout states, provinces, cities and countries. In order to make sure that the virus is contained everywhere. Government should allow private companies to help find vaccines and other treatments while still making sure they are safe. Scientists, economists, and psychologists should work together to find a solution that balances the physical mental and financial health of the world. This could mean lower interest rates and giving stimulus packages to the public, giving mental and physical health advice to the public. This means that a plan of what conditions should be met in order to start to ease life to normal. Finally the virus should be heavily studied even after it is no longer prevalent. This is in case future viruses are similar.

How can you help?

 

  1. Abide by all social distance standards.
  2. Have this conversation because the more people talk about it the more likely we are to be better prepared next time.

What do you think?

Comment below on your thoughts about the following questions.

  1. How do you agree/disagree with the actions being taken by your government?
  2. How do you agree/disagree with the actions laid out in my plan?

  3. Should private companies have a role in the response to viral outbreaks? Explain.
  4. How has Covid-19 affected your life?

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