Scientists either don’t know enough or they are not telling the public everything about the COVID 19 coronavirus. The rate at which this virus is spreading, judging from the number of positive cases, is unbelievable.
Any lingering doubts about infection numbers being inflated by poor or false tests results should be dismissed as conjecture. The death toll – yesterday, there were more than 2000 deaths – is way too high for the infection numbers to be overstated.
If anything, the infection numbers are understated since there may be many persons who are infected but not yet tested and there may be innumerable asymptomatic hosts that are passing on the virus to others.
The rate of contagion of this virus suggests strongly that it is also being transmitted by means other than what is being suggested – person-to-person transmission and infection from droplets on surfaces. The rapid spread of the disease could possibly mean that the virus is air borne and is not easily destroyed by climatic conditions. The scientific community, if they know must level with the world.
The American President has initially speculated that warmer weather would see a decline in the number of cases. This could still happen but the corona virus is not like other viruses and even in countries, such as Singapore and Malaysia with temperatures like ours, have been affected by the virus.
Spring is supposed to have started in both Europe and America. But the slightly warmer temperatures are not making the situation any better.
The media is trying to avoid mass panic by linking the rise in cases in Europe and the US, where the virus is spiraling out of control, to the failure to take early action. This is far from the truth. When the virus first broke at the end of December in China, the world took is seriously. Measures were put in place to test persons travelling from high-risk areas. Something obviously went wrong and the world is not being told what went wrong which would allow for what started as an epidemic to now become a full-blown pandemic.
This is not a conspiracy theory. An examination of the available data raises more questions than answers.
The response of the international community to the virus has been mainly three fold. There are feverish attempts to develop a vaccine. But even with a waiver of some of the regulations and with faster approvals, the earliest a safe vaccine may emerge with is by the end of the year, and even that is an optimistic date.
The second response is to find drugs that can treat the symptoms of this virus. There is no cure and therefore the most can be done is to fund drugs to suppress the virus until a person’s immune system can counteract its effects. A number of old drugs are being resurrected to assist in this regard but the scientific community is insisting on proper tests to ensure safety. At some stage, a compromise would have to be developed to allow for experimental treatment on a mass scale. Otherwise, the world is going to be overwhelmed.
The third response has been the social distancing strategy, which is being imposed around world, including in India which does not have a relatively large number of cases in comparison to its population size.
India however is a country, which uses statistical modeling in fighting epidemics and this modeling has prompted it to order a total lockdown.
Guyana is far from ready for this virus. It has not done any statistical modeling to help inform its strategy. It is simply repeating what it is seeing other nations doing.
Instead of establishing a proper National Task Force, which should involve epidemiologists, statisticians and community leaders, the government has established an Inter-ministerial Task Force.
That is not going to work. Guyana may be losing valuable time in not trying to better understand how fast the epidemic is likely to spread in Guyana and what is the doubling time for the infection.
This is the work, which has to be done now. Otherwise, the country would not only be facing a long, long lockdown but also a long, long breakdown.
It takes money to fight this pandemic. Donald Trump is confident that the financial might of America will allow it to win the battle because, as he says, the US will not spare resources to defeat this virus.
But what about poor countries like Guyana where the health authorities assured us only weeks ago that we were ready for the virus, only to be later told we do not even have enough respirators to fight a normal influenza outbreak, much less the more deadlier corona virus. God help this country!
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