Act quickly to win fight vs COVID-19 – American research group

Published June 20, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The Philippines “needs to take action” as the country is nowhere near beating the coronavirus outbreak, a comparative study by an independent American research institution and think tank showed.

Based on the June 19 update led by a network of scientists and volunteers under the New England Complex Systems Institute, the Philippines is one of 69 countries that is placed under the “red” zone.

Countries under the red classification are “either going the wrong way, staying constant, or going down very slowly,” the researchers said.

COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have reached 28,459 last Friday.

In winning the fight against the deadly disease, the American experts said that countries should “act quickly.”

“Don’t wait for ‘more data’ or results from complicated models. It isn’t too late to start now. The earlier you act, the earlier things can go back to normal,” they explained.

They also suggested isolating away from home, by setting up facilities to isolate infected individuals from their family members, citing that roughly 80 percent of transmission in Wuhan, China was within the home.

Strict travel restrictions should also be observed. “For red zones, restrict outward travel to avoid infecting others. For essential travel, have mandatory quarantines to avoid spreading the virus,” the group of researchers explained.

There is also a need for massive amount of testing, as it allows the identification of infected individuals and to be able to separate them from the rest of the community.

Wearing face mask is a must for everyone, which remains to be simple, cheap, and highly effective in reducing transmission, they said.

Likewise, practice social distancing by staying away from crowded areas and keeping as much distance between nearest neighbors as possible.

“Those with comorbidities (the elderly, overweight, immunocompromised, etc.) should be the last to be reintroduced into society, as they are the most vulnerable,” the experts noted.

It also recommended being patient by not reopening too early.

“Reopening too early runs the risk of triggering exponential growth again. This might erase all of the benefits gained from the lockdown so far. It could increase the total amount of deaths, overwhelm the medical system, and create a scenario where another lockdown is necessary,” they said.

Some of the countries that are also classified under the red zone are Indonesia, Singapore, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, and United Kingdom.

In order to completely contain the virus, new cases per day must go to zero, the think tank said.

Other countries were categorized under the green zone, “those at that point or very close to it (completely containing the virus), and yellow zone, “those which could reach that point within a reasonable time frame.”