COOPERATION THROUGH ISOLATION

How we successfully defeat Coronavirus

“Yesterday my mother was officially tested positive for the corona virus. She is relatively well, but it is known that the Corona pandemic has broken out worldwide. In only 7 days the number of infections has increased from 100.000 before by 37.000(!) new cases between the end of December and the end of February. We are facing an exponential growth, seemingly powerless. But this is wrong. We can certainly do something, as social psychologist Tomas Pueyo explains to us in a long and well-founded article. But because the article is so long, we at KNE have decided to write you a short version with the essential findings.

The quintessence of his analysis shows us that there is only one way out. It sounds paradoxical, but we can only really stick together in this crisis if we separate consistently. Everyone of us needs social isolation. This must happen very quickly and involves the courage to break away from habits just as quickly. A long-awaited birthday party simply must not take place, even if it is difficult. The consequences of the exponential growth of the pandemic will be fatal for a great amount of people, especially grandmothers and grandfathers, given the average death rates.

We must act immediately and drastically reduce all social contacts:

  • Cancel all events
  • Working from home like we at KNE
  • Close all schools, universities and public institutions
  • No travel
  • Stay at home
  • Close cinemas, restaurants, bars
  • Dramatically reduce metro, bus and train timetables
  • Stop any social contacts that are not truly necessary

Only these measures will cause the virus to spread more slowly and hopefully disappear again, because it will not find any more victims, like my mother.

Please read our summary, also read the long, very worth reading article by Tomas Pueyo to genuinely understand the context. Moreover, share the link with your friends, acquaintances, bosses, business partners and politicians. The faster we act, the faster we defeat the virus. The social media help us to stick together. Use them. NOW!”

Daniel Nicolai
Managing Director
KNE Communication for sustainable development

KNE summary of:
“Coronavirus: Why you must act now!”
by Tomas Pueyo

Overview

The Coronavirus is literally on everyone’s lips. While immediate action was taken in the country of origin, China, the number of new infections is currently rising exponentially to tens of thousands in other countries, particularly Italy, South Korea and Iran. How has China managed to contain this exponential growth and why has no other country learned from it?

A summary of the scenario:

  • Asian countries, which have already had experience with SARS and similarly dangerous viruses in the past, were able to derive rapid measures for Corona from this: The public was isolated without tolerance. South Korea, as an outlier, had a “super spreader” that infected too many people at the same time.
  • Western countries are currently limping and reactive. The exponentially spreading Corona virus is increasingly overstretching the population and the health care system. The mortality rate in Western countries is higher than in the experienced Asian countries.
  • Politics and business must take direct action to prevent the spread further. Every day that no tangible, uniform measures are implemented to isolate or drastically minimize the risks increases the risk of losing control completely.

New infections

  • By isolating affected cities, China was able to drastically reduce the number of new infections and stop the exponential growth. One reason for this was that China and other Asian countries have already had experience with similar viruses (SARS).
  • Western countries that have little or no experience with similar viruses react less drastically, allowing exponential growth to proceed unrestrained. (Chart 8)
  • The US-American state of Washington State is developing into the new Wuhan. At present, the new infections are exploding without any prospect of capping. It is also becoming apparent that the official figures are lower. The current figures are therefore not well suited for a forecast. In addition, new infections in the USA are distorting the statistics due to inadequate testing measures.
  • With the number of Corona cases that countries such as the USA, Spain, France, Iran, Germany, Japan and Switzerland are experiencing today, Wuhan was already in lockdown.

Mortality rate

  • The mortality rate can be divided into two types of countries: Countries that are prepared will have a mortality rate between about 0.5% (South Korea) and 0.9% (China outside the Hubei/Wuhan region) and countries that are overburdened will have a mortality rate between about 3% and 5%.
  • Countries that act quickly can reduce the number of deaths by a factor of 10. And that is just the mortality rate. Acting quickly also reduces the total number of cases.
  • About 20% of the cases require hospitalization, 5% of the cases require treatment in intensive care units and about 1% require very intensive care, for example with ventilators or ECMO. Equipment is scarce, forcing healthcare workers to make life-and-death decisions for patients and even themselves.

Solutions

The curve of new cases must be flattened if the health system is to continue to function. The more cases that can be postponed, the lower the mortality rate and the higher the proportion of the population that can be vaccinated before becoming potentially infected.

Measures

  • The example of Wuhan shows that from the moment of the blockade, the number of infected people also decreased. Isolation is therefore a possibility.
  • Unless infection occurs from person to person via droplets, the greatest risk is via surfaces. The virus can survive for hours or days on different surfaces. We should therefore keep our distance from other people and, if possible, stay at home until the spread of the virus is reduced.
  • Politically, there are two measures: Containment and mitigation. The containment strategy ensures that all cases are identified, controlled and isolated. Once the number of cases in the population increases by hundreds or thousands, it is no longer sufficient to try to prevent further cases. Containment is the measure where companies, shops, public transport and schools close down to reduce the transmission rate from 2-3 to 1 to allow the virus to die out. The current gradual increase in measures gives the virus valuable time to spread further.

For companies and their directors

Companies and managers can vaguely calculate the risk of infection in their own company. However, given current trends, they can take as much risk as they want until the Coronavirus forces them to close offices.

Conclusion

In the theoretical model, which is based on Hubei/Wuhan, only one day of waiting leads to a 40% increase in cases! If the authorities in Hubei had initiated the quarantine on January 22 instead of January 23, they might have reduced the number of cases by an incredible 20,000.

One day of waiting will increase the death rate by 40%. Every day increases the risk that the health system will fail, which would increase the mortality rate by a factor of 10.

Every day that there is no social distancing, the cases increase exponentially. Therefore you should act NOW in any case!

Tomas Pueyo was born in France in 1982. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Stanford, with a focus on behavioral psychology, design and storytelling. He currently works for an online learning platform near San Francisco, is a speaker and one of the most read authors of the online blog Medium.

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