So by now the whole country has been sitting at home for the first day of isolation. What's the point of all this anyway?
Here we see a graph that was published by the Chinese Centers of Disease Control
in the Journal of the American Medical Association at the end of February. This is the number of
new infections per day. The epidemic started here around the 18th of January, and peaked on the 4th of February.
These are patients who go to a hospital because they feel bad, they have been tested, and confirmed.
However, we know that it takes a few days from
the onset of symptoms to make a visit to the hospital.
The Chinese colleagues asked the patients (who came to the hospital)
when their symptoms started, and have shown this in a separate chart
that we see here. In the blue bar chart you can now see the actual beginning
of the symptoms, or the actual beginning of the illness.
If we add up all known cases, i.e. the orange bars, up to the 22nd of January,
we have 444 patients. That would be the WHO figures
that we see on television every day. If, however, we want to know how many
patients were actually already ill at that time, we have to add up the blue bars -
and if we do that, there are 12 000 cases.
So there were already 12 000 cases at a time when it was thought that there were 444 cases in China.
That is a factor of 27!
A similarly high number of unreported cases of actually ill patients has also been described by
other scientists. Here, for example, in a publication by the Imperial College of London.
These authors have calculated that we‘re probably underestimating the actual number of patients
by a factor of 19 to 26. Austria has 1018 cases of COVID-19 today, on the 16th of March 2020.
If we look at the current data, we must assume
that we actually have somewhere between 19 and 27 thousand cases.
Let's look at what happened after China
took those massive measures in Wuhan and other cities in the region -
when the lockdown occurred. Millions of people there were not allowed to leave their homes.
Even supermarket purchases were made using online orders and courier services.
The lockdown of Wuhan started on the 23rd of January. Another 15 cities were shut down the
following day on January 24th. And what happened? Immediately after that, on the 26th of January,
the epidemic reached its peak. At that time, it looked like the epidemic would continue unchecked.
The registered cases reached
their peak only on February the 4th, 9 days later. At this point,
the peak of the epidemic was in fact already over. And it is very important that we know that
for the next few days. For some time it will look as if the measures
taken by the government will have no effect before we reach our peak
in registered cases in Austria too. By that time, however, we will have long since left our actual
peak behind us. We know from the past that what we are doing here
will have an effect. Here is a very well-known example from the
Spanish flu in 1918, where you see the mortality per 100 000 people in Philadelphia versus
St. Louis in the USA. Philadelphia did not take the Spanish flu seriously,
took action far too late, did not cancel public events, and was punished for this
with excessive mortality. St. Louis, on the other hand,
took social distancing measures very early on and was thus able to
flatten the curve of the epidemic considerably. We are seeing the same thing in Italy.
Lodi, the city with the first case of COVID-19 in Italy, took measures very quickly on February 23rd
and was able to flatten the epidemic curve.
Bergamo only started similar measures on March 8th and the result can be seen here.
So let's follow the example of Lodi and St. Louis! You can find more COVID-19 videos
in this Youtube playlist I created for you.