Quarantine and social distance – two teaching case studies for the Corona-containment

The Coronavirus attacks in many Parts of the world more. On Wednesday, the world health organization (WHO) declared the Virus officially a pandemic. The Numbers of infections and deaths rise from day to day by leaps and bounds: Worldwide, more than 125,000 Coronavirus are now infections registered, 4600 people have died from it. In Germany there are, according to a Summary of the John Hopkins University in the USA, more than 2,000 confirmed infections with the new Virus (as of Thursday).

Corona Virus

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That the peak of the pandemic has not yet been reached, it seems clear: experts agree that the Virus is not, for the time being to stop, since there is no antidote. A top priority now, to delay this propagation time as far as possible. Asked how long the Virus is, in his opinion, still is spreading, said the disease expert Lothar Wieler at a press conference: “Hopefully, for as long as possible.” To distribute the number of infections over a longer period, would ease the burden on the health system and physicians to develop a vaccine.

This also includes the numerous quarantine and other precautions being taken all over the world to serve. Italy has imposed a country-wide Lockdown and most of the shops closed, other European countries such as Denmark, closing schools and day care centers. In Germany, numerous events were canceled to prevent large gatherings of people. The importance of these measures, shows a glimpse of the past.

Spanish flu in 1918/19: a warning against the spread of Corona

At the time of the Spanish flu, which focused in the years 1918/19 in the world grass, restricted some of the cities the social life in large Parts and got the Virus in the handle. In other regions, where these measures were not taken, spread the Virus, unchecked, and resulted in many deaths. A total of died in the pandemic between 20 and 40 million people – about 20 percent of the world population.

A graphic shows what is the impact of quarantine measures had, at the time, in the city of St. Louis, where at an early stage of public events were cancelled. Immediately after the outbreak of the Spanish flu in the city of St. Louis closed the schools, pubs and churches, even attending funerals has been greatly narrowed. The police have been instructed to no people because of a small Misdemeanor arrest, in order to relieve the prisons. In fact, St. Louis survived the time of the pandemic got off rather lightly. In Philadelphia, however, where after the outbreak of a Parade with a lot of visitors, held, shot, the death rate leaps and bounds in the height.

Now is the time of the Spanish flu is hard to compare with the year 2020. The possibilities of medical care today are many times better than at that time, the research has better conditions to detect the Virus, analyze, and combat. Also, the death rate of the Spanish flu at about 2.5 percent, at Covid-19 it is on the basis of an analysis of the cases in South Korea, currently of about 0.65 percent.

“Social distance”: Why less contact with people the Virus can be contained

The principle can be easily transferred By quarantine measures of infection chains are interrupted, the spread of the Virus can delay a endeavour, the last of the term “Flatten the curve” is known. The so-called “social distance is supposed to contribute”. This means that in the current situation, in addition to the cancellation of major events and the Isolation of Infected and those that had closer contact to them, to work, for example, from the Home Office or to avoid touching (shaking hands, etc.). “Only an immediate and radical Change to our normal habits is the seriousness of the situation morally appropriate,” writes Harvard Professor Yascha Mounk in a guest post for “image”. The “systemic contact avoidance” is, in his view, the only effective means against Corona.

Not all these recommendations by experts and medical professionals to be taken seriously. This is due to the fact that dimensions beyond our human brain. A Virus is spreading, the number of Infected growing exponentially as each Infected infects, in turn, more people. People who carry the corona virus in itself would not, in isolation, would spread the Virus rapidly.

The Coronavirus is added to make matters worse, that it is not detected in all Infected. It is assumed that many people with Coronavirus-free, without being tested or show symptoms, and infect others. The head of the epidemiological research group of the University of Bern, Christian Althaus, of the Coronavirus, from a doubling time of six to seven days. According to the calculations of the “süddeutsche Zeitung” would be the number of Infected in Germany thus at the beginning of may already at 1.2 million and if measures are not taken to contain the Virus.

The example of Italy “Will also be with us so, if we do nothing”

What happens then, is at the moment in Italy. There are more than 15,000 people are infected and more Affected, there are so far only in China. In Italy 1000 people are yet to Covid-19 died. The health system is hopelessly overloaded, because it is not managed, the Virus in a timely manner to contain. The blockade of the country imposed by the Prime Minister, Conte now, is just damage limitation of the highest Need. Since there are significantly fewer new infections, even China has to get the Virus is largely in the grip by a particularly isolated regions concerned to a large extent.

For Germany, the views in Italy, because there are examples of shows which dimensions can take on the Virus and what measures could be effective. A comparison of Infection rates shows that they were in Italy for eight to nine days on a similar level as in Germany. The renowned virologist Christian Drosten warns: “Covid-19 will also be with us so, if we think that ‘Germany does it better’ and, therefore, nothing to do.” Can help with responsible behavior of each to something.

Sources: Süddeutsche Zeitung / New York Times / “Vox” / “image” / Christian Drosten on Twitter

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