By Tony Winterburn • 22 March 2020 • 11:42
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin slammed after party video leak. Image: @eskelinen_antti/Twitter
OVER A HUNDRED SCIENTISTS INCLUDING STATISTICIANS, DOCTORS AND HEALTH EXPERTS HAVE SIGNED A DOCUMENT URGING THE GOVERNMENT TO ORDER A TOTAL LOCKDOWN OF THE COMPLETE POPULATION OF SPAIN.
Oriol Mitja (director of the Germans Trias I Pujol Research Institute), Jordi Casabona (Director of CEEISCAT), Professor of Preventive Medicine Francisco Guillén or researcher at the Institut de Salut Global de Barcelona Judith Garcia-Aymerich, “Mathematical simulations warn that the current measures of the system will lead to a collapse of the health system around March 25 and, given projections and experience in other countries, it is necessary to anticipate this situation and it is not reasonable to wait to react.”
They warn that the measures adopted are not enough to avoid the absolute collapse of the health system, which they estimate will happen around March 25.
The researchers detail that given the enormous transmission of the virus in presymptomatic phases and the high number of asymptomatic people, “the measures adopted to date will not be sufficient to prevent the collapse of the health system.
Experts in the dynamics and spread of epidemics in the field of infectious diseases said estimates have been made for Spain using multiple mathematical models and in all cases, under different assumptions, there is convincing data suggesting that there will be a large volume of cases in the coming weeks.
Specifically, scientists assess the three possible scenarios (no action, restriction of mobility in current terms and total restriction of mobility and absolute confinement), and with the predictions they make, they conclude that “with a restriction of Partial mobility, like the current one, we estimate that the saturation point of the health system would be reached around March 25. This could be avoided if the restriction of mobility were total and it was decreed without delay.”
THERE SHOULD BE TOTALLY RESTRICTED AREAS
Specifically, they recommend adopting total confinement as soon as possible that involves not going to work. And they propose different strategies depending on the area and the spread of the coronavirus:
They recommend that in the most affected areas, with more than 25 cases per million inhabitants (Madrid, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, La Rioja, the Basque Country, Navarra, and Catalonia), the closure of certain areas and the total confinement of residents, except for essential basic services (hospitals, health, and research centres).
In the rest of the zones, partial confinement like the current one would be allowed (50% of the allowed work activity and 25% of the transport). In any case, non-essential intercity traffic should be totally interrupted for at least 15 days (until the middle of April).
THREE WEEKS OF ATTACK AND 2 MONTHS OF MAINTENANCE
The researchers explain that this total confinement (or social distancing, depending on the geographical area) should go hand in hand with a three-week duration of intensifying the use of diagnostic tests in suspected cases and enabling hotels to isolate cases and not saturate the health services, as well as enabling a channel for purchasing and supplying material.
In a second stage after those three weeks of ‘attack’ on the epidemic, new measures should be established for two months to guarantee the end of the epidemic: increase the capacity of all laboratories to carry out diagnostic PCR tests, create a mobile application to self-assess Covid-19 suspicions and facilitate access to data for the scientific community to monitor spikes.
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