To prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection, many countries have implemented a “social distancing strategy” to minimize the possibility of person-to-person contact.
You may not go back to traditional “everyday life”.
Everybody wants to get back to daily life as soon as possible. However, even after weeks or months, you will not return to daily life. Some will never look back. Many people still don’t get it, but they will soon find out.
Today all countries accept the idea that they need to “flatten the curve” (even the UK has accepted). In other words, it promotes a “social distancing strategy” to delay the spread of the new coronavirus and prevent the collapse of the medical system due to the current outbreak of infected in Italy.
This means that this pandemic (in the world) will not be able to get immunity until enough people are infected with the new coronavirus (assuming immunity lasts for several years, but this is just a guess) or a vaccine is available. It is necessary to maintain a low level of infection.
How long will it take and strict social restrictions? President Donald Trump announced new guidelines on March 16, such as a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. He said: “A few weeks of strengthening measures can quickly eliminate the crisis.” In China, the number of new infections is increasing. It was lowered and the six-week lockdown began to ease.
However, this will not converge. If there is a new coronavirus carrier somewhere in the world, unless it is strictly managed, the outbreak can occur repeatedly. In fact, it will happen over and over again. Researchers from Imperial College London issued a report (PDF file) on March 16, proposing methods of containment.
The method consists of implementing a strict strategy of social distancing each time the number of hospitalizations in the intensive care unit (ICU) begins to increase and alleviating this situation each time the number of hospitalizations in the ICU decreases. The following figure shows the process.
The orange line represents the change in the number of ICU hospitalizations. When the number of hospitalized patients exceeds a threshold (say, 100 per week), the country will close all schools and most universities and implement social distancing strategies.
When the number of patients admitted to the intensive care unit drops below 50, the social distancing strategy will be canceled. However, people with symptoms and their partners will continue to be isolated at home.
What is “social distancing”? The Imperial College researchers defined it as: “All families will reduce their contact with schools, workplaces and people outside the home by 75%.” This does not mean that you can go out with your friends once a week instead of four times a week. This means that everyone will reduce social connections as much as possible and reduce the overall chance of contact by 75%.
The Imperial College researchers used this model for social distancing strategies and school closings, about two-thirds of the time (about two months and a month) before the vaccine was available.
The bottom line is what to do. By the way, even if the vaccine is developed successfully, it will take at least 18 months.
The report also noted that the results of the implementation of the social distancing strategy are “similar in quality in the United States.”
It is difficult to implement social distancing strategies within 18 months. There should be another solution. For example, is it not enough to increase the ICU and increase the number of patients that can be treated at the same time?
However, the Imperial College research team model cannot solve the problem by increasing the number of ICUs. Even without the best mitigation strategy – isolating or isolating the sick, the elderly, close contacts and schools – the entire population cannot promote social distancing strategies, but the number of seriously ill patients has skyrocketed.
It turns out that the medical system in the US or UK has eight times its capacity (the smoothest blue curve in the figure below is the change in the number of beds required in this case. The flat red line represents the ICU current (number of beds)) Even if the mass of the factory produces hospital beds, ventilators and all other equipment and supplies, more nurses and doctors are needed to treat all patients.
Assuming that a comprehensive social distancing strategy is not implemented, the number of people infected with the new coronavirus will increase rapidly, causing the health system to collapse.
Imperial College COVID-19 Team
How about implementing all the restrictions in about five months? Unfortunately, it has no effect. Once the restrictions are lifted, the pandemic will reoccur.
In that case, the pandemic occurred in winter, which is the worst time for the medical system to be overloaded.
A full strategy of social distancing and other measures lasted five months, but was later canceled and the pandemic reoccurred.
Imperial College COVID-19 Team
What if you take ruthless measures? That is, if a greater number of hospitalized patients is established in the ICU (this is the threshold for implementing the social distancing strategy) and the death of more patients is allowed, the time to implement the social distancing strategy can be shortened. It is? But there is no difference. According to the research team at Imperial College London, even the most restrictive hypothesis requires the public to spend more than half the time at home.
This is not a temporary disaster. This is the beginning of a new lifestyle.
Living under the pandemic
In the short term, restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, stadiums, hotels, theaters, cinemas, art galleries, shopping centers, craft fairs, museums, musicians and other artists, sports facilities (and sports teams), conference rooms. . (And conference organizers), cruise lines, airlines, public transportation, private schools, daycare centers, and other businesses that should be overcrowded will be seriously damaged.
In addition, it also emphasizes parents who are forced to enter school at their children’s home, parents who are worried about being infected by the new coronavirus, parents who are abused, and parents who cannot do versus fluctuations in income. It goes without saying that this is the case.
Of course, it can be adjusted to a certain extent. For example, Jim may start selling home fitness equipment and training courses online.
There is already an area called “closed economy” where new services will exploit. You can also expect some habits to change, such as low carbon dioxide emissions, local production in the local consumer supply chain, and an increase in the number of walks and bikes.
However, he will not be able to cope with the turmoil in many companies and lives. The stay-at-home lifestyle has long been unsustainable.
So how do you live in this new world? Improvements to the medical system are expected to play a role in the solution. Prevent the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) by providing pandemic response forces to identify and contain the outbreak before the infection spreads, and immediately increase the production capacity of medical equipment, test kits and drugs. Not in time yet, but it will be useful for future epidemics.
In the short term, perhaps difficult commitments can sustain social life on the surface. For example, half the seats in a movie theater must be moved, meetings must be held in large rooms with widely spaced chairs, and stadiums must be reserved in advance to avoid overcrowding.
But in the end, developing advanced methods to identify people at risk and “legally” distinguish people at risk can reestablish safer relationships. think.
This pioneering measure is currently being implemented in some countries. In Israel, location information from mobile phones used by national intelligence agencies to track terrorists is being used to track people infected with the new coronavirus and their close contacts. Singapore closely tracks contacts and publishes detailed unnamed data on identified infected persons.
I was surprised by the details of the new information on the coronavirus released by Singapore. The website lists all previously identified infected people in chronological order, their places of residence and work, hospitals, and the operator’s network topology.
Of course, we don’t know exactly what this new future will look like. But, for example, in a world where you need to use your smartphone to sign up for sports tracking services to board a plane.
The airline cannot tell the passenger where he has been, but will warn him if he is near a known infected person or near a point of infection. Similar information will be required when using large venues, government buildings, or central public transportation facilities.
Body temperature scanners are everywhere and it may be necessary to wear a monitor in the workplace to track vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure and heart rate.
Whenever proof of age is required at the nightclub entrance, you may need to show proof of vaccination in the future. Use your smartphone to show your ID or do some digital verification to show that you have been infected with the latest virus and have recovered or been vaccinated.
Just as people have adapted to airport security controls, after the terrorist attacks, these controls have become increasingly strict, and they will also adopt and accept such measures. Annoying surveillance will also be seen as a small price to pay for basic freedom to get along with others.
But, as always, the real costs will be borne by the poorest and weakest. People who do not have access to medical services or who are prone to illness are increasingly excluded from places and opportunities that others can take advantage of.
The work of free drivers, plumbers, yoga instructors, and various performance workers has become more unstable. For immigrants, refugees, illegal immigrants and people with criminal records, this is a new obstacle, making it increasingly difficult to establish themselves in society.
Furthermore, the government and companies are free to choose the standard of assessment, unless there are strict regulations on the assessment of disease risk.
For example, high-risk requirements may include annual income of less than $ 50,000, household composition of 6 or more, and specific residents of the community. And there are biased algorithms and hidden space for discrimination.
For example, last year an algorithm used by a US health insurance company was found to inadvertently favor whites.
Until now, the world has changed many times. Now it is changing again. We all need to adjust to the new lifestyle, establish jobs, and build relationships.
But like all other changes, some people have lost too much and will lose more. The best expected result is that the severity of the crisis will eventually cause the state to correct serious social inequality, leaving many people in a highly vulnerable state.
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