🦠Covid-19 - 02/03/20 Can China strategy work elsewhere? | 🤕 91,308 | Deaths 3,120

📊 Daily Data Brief:

91,308 cases (+1,859)

New Cases outside China: 1,734 (-43)

New Cases in China:  126 (-187)

Total Death: 3,120 (+63)

Serious or Critical Cases:   7,098 (-277) (7.8% to total)

Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/


Just this past week, the number of affected countries shot up from 29 to 76, with most new cases detected outside China. As China appears to have contained COVID19, a number of articles ask: what have they done right and is their containment strategy reproducible and desirable in western societies. A number of articles are also scrutinising current socio-economic structures’ resilience to the repeated emergence of zoonotic viruses like COVID19 at both national and supranational level, and how we should adapt them for the future. The place of women in the public health leadership is also questioned particularly as they have glaringly (at least for now) been left out of Trump Coronavirus task force.

🏛 As the rest of the world combined reported 9 times more cases than in China alone and the COVID19 *appears* contained in China, Jon Cohen and Kai Kupferschmidt ask themselves in an excellent article whether replicating the “ambitious, agile, and aggressive” containment strategy is desirable and workable outside China. This comes on the heels of the WHO report from its China mission published on 28 February praising China effort in pushing back the novel coronavirus. In their effort to contain the virus, the Chinese government co-opted its tech giants footprint to enforce the restrictions through Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat messaging app. People in initial roll-out of the system were assigned a traffic light code which dictated their freedom of movement. As Alexandre Phelan notes in the article “Whether it works is not the only measure of whether something is a good public health control measure”, pointing out that other measures could be successful without being abhorrent to our society. Mistrust in the persistence of China’s success was also noted in the article by Michael Osterholm (Head of CIDRAP) particularly as China is now relaxing the measures and putting back people to work: “There’s no question they suppressed the outbreak. That’s like suppressing a forest fire, but not putting it out. It’ll come roaring right back.”. Paul Mozur and colleagues at the NYTimes were a lot more sanguine about their assessment of the Chinese containment strategy as their article subtitle ran: “A new system uses software to dictate quarantines — and appears to send personal data to police, in a troubling precedent for automated social control.”  As the West becomes more concerned about “surveillance capitalism” with privacy laws like GDPR in the EU and the newly enacted California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), this form of social surveillance and cooperation between private tech giants and the Chinese enforcement authorities appears to attack one’s civil liberties. The article also points out, whether the government will shut down this newly developed capability for this specific episode post outbreak or whether it would become part of the surveillance and enforcement apparatus going forward. Two great reads by 3 journalist which have produced some of the best pieces since the beginning of this epidemic (Link and Link)

🔬 In the US, in an election year, the liberal press continues to scrutinise the administration and whether in containing this outbreak, it uses alternative or contradicting facts. As I reported yesterday, the Former FDA director had gone on the record predicting that the US will finally ramp-up its COVID19 diagnostic capabilities to 10,000/day this week and 20,000/day at the end of next week. The Trump administration came out yesterday claiming that 1 million Americans would be tested by the end of this week contradicting most of what other officials at the FDA or CDC were saying. As much as I was praising the more transparent communication on top of the undeniable increased testing ability both aligning well for containment, the administration regrettably appeared to already get back to its old habits to please the public. This transparency concern was echoed by the respected National Association of Science Writers (NASW) public call to the Trump administration to allow government experts to speak freely about the COVID19 outbreak and the public response. Science and effective communication are key to successful containment and mitigation of the virus and this is a welcome step (NASW call)

💰 Brookings has come out with a macroeconomic analysis titled “The global macroeconomic impacts of COVID-19: Seven scenarios”. The scenarios vary by attack rate, mortality rate and the countries experiencing the epidemiological shocks. They go from an epidemic mainly localised to China to 3 pandemic scenarios with different degree of severities. They look at mortality and GDP loss along these different scenarios. Mortality number vary from 279,000 to 68 million and GDP loss from US$283 million to US$9.2 trillion (Link)

🦠 Trevor Bedford of FredHutch who’s phylogenetic work uncovered “cryptic transmission” of COVID19 in the US for the last 6 weeks (see yesterday’s edition) came out with a very clear and interesting article both promoting his field of genetic epidemiology and giving more details about his work on COVID19 strain analysis. work. He infers the following from his analysis that: “I expect Seattle now to look like Wuhan around ~1 Jan” (Link)

💁‍♀️ The Lily has a very good article on the need to have better representation of women in the leadership of public health. All of you must have seen the initial meeting of the Trump task force on COVID19 and its glaring lack of women in the photo (if not it’s in the article). It rightly quotes Imogen Coe (a professor and chemical and biology in Canada) that “we can’t ignore 50 percent of the population when it comes to effective health policy.” This is particularly relevant when women make up 70 percent to 80 percent of the U.S. health-care workforce and similar percentages in the rest of the world (Link)

🌍 The CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy) has a very good summary of the outbreak outside China, as a WHO mission arrives in Iran. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said today in its latest risk assessment that the risk to the region is moderate to high as Italy now reports 1,835 COVID19 cases and 52 deaths. (Link)


📊 A picture is worth a thousand words

  1. This is a great representation of the status of COVID19 across different countries (death, unresolved, recoveries) shared by The Oxford Trust (Link)

  2. This is a data visualisation page by John Selanikio (MD) on COVID19 (Link)

  3. This is the New York Times data and graph page on COVID19 with an update map of the US alone (Link)


🎬 This video has gone viral but is a good and positive example of the use of social media to educate and raise public awareness (as well as cheer you up) in the case of an epidemic outbreak. The song is based on the melody of a famous V-pop hit 'Ghen,' written by Khac Hung and performed by ERIK and MIN, the original singers of 'Ghen.' The lyrics were rewritten by the original composer, Khac Hung, in collaboration with the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health to communicate preventive measures against the virus and boost public morale. (Link)