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China struggles to contain coronavirus as virus spreads outside its borders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 445.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the spread of the coronavirus and how the Chinese government is struggling to contain the virus and prevent a global pandemic from taking hold.


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Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog:

Restrictions that allow a significant number of people to move about, either with official approval or unsanctioned “black market” activity, cannot stop the spread of contagious diseases.

Like everyone else, I’ve been reading the mainstream media reports on the Coronavirus epidemic. I haven’t found any information about the practicalities that immediately occur to me, such as:

1. When public transportation is halted and commerce grinds to a halt as people avoid public places and gatherings, thousands of employees no longer go to work. Who pays their wages while the city is locked down? The employers? Then who compensates the employers, since their income has also gone to zero?

Does China have a universal unemployment insurance system that can quickly issue payments to all people who are no longer going to work and getting a paycheck from an employer?

What about the thousands of migrant workers who don’t have regular employers? Who pays them? If they’re technically not officially sanctioned residents of the city, they don’t exist in government records.

2. If people idled by the lockdown are supposed to live off savings, what about all the marginal workers with few resources? What are they going to live on once their meager savings are gone?

3. Given the choice of obeying the lockdown rules and starving or slipping out of the city to find paid work somewhere else, how many migrant workers will choose to slip away?

4. Unlike the developed West, many people in China still have ancestral villages to return to, rural towns where their grandparents or or other close relatives live. If work has dried up and you’re fearful of catching a potentially lethal virus, wouldn’t it make sense to slip out of the city and make your way back to the village where you can hunker down until the epidemic blows over?

Since people who caught the virus may not know they’re a carrier, how will this migration not spread the disease to rural areas with few medical resources?

5. The typical city has about a week’s supply of food, fuel, etc. at best. If the lockdown runs longer than a few days, scarcities of essentials will ignite hoarding, and remaining supplies will be snapped up.

Since the city’s residents need food, fuel, etc., it must be brought in regardless of the lockdown. This brings outside workers into the city and provides residents desperate to flee avenues to escape the lockdown. Every individual involved in this system is potentially exposed to the virus or is a potential asymptomatic carrier of the virus leaving the city.

These realities leave officials with an impossible choice: either truly isolate the city, which isn’t possible for more than a few days, or allow the stupendous flow of goods required to sustain millions of city residents, thereby creating uncontrollable avenues for the virus to spread beyond the city as transport workers and those fleeing the lockdown travel to other cities.

6. The only way to end a contagion is to identify every carrier of the disease and immediately isolate them in full hazmat mode, and then track down every individual they had contact with during the incubation/asymptomatic period of the disease–up to two weeks–and isolate all these individuals until they either develop the disease or pass through the crisis unharmed.

This was the basic procedure used to end the SARS epidemic in 2003. As this article from the The New England Journal of Medicine explains (Another Decade, Another Coronavirus, (via correspondent Cheryl A.), the Wuhan Coronavirus shares characteristics with SARS and cannot be dismissed as just another run-of-the-mill flu virus.

During this process of isolating / quarantining everyone with the disease and everyone they had close contact with, all healthcare workers caring for these people must also remain isolated from the general populace lest they become infected and spread the disease outside the quarantine.

Treating people in crowded hospitals where hundreds of people are coming and going and moving freely into the rest of the city won’t stop a contagion from spreading.

If the only way to end a contagion is to identify every carrier of the disease and immediately isolate them, and then track down every individual they had contact with during the incubation/asymptomatic period of the disease–is this even possible in China now?

Please study the map below before claiming it’s still possible.

7. China is making a big show about sending 1,000 doctors to Wuhan, but precisely what medical treatments are available for this virus, how effective are these treatments, and do they require a physician to be administered? If the answers are: there are no effective targeted medical treatments for this virus, and doctors are not required to administer what is available, then why expose a scarce resource–physicians–to the disease since they really can’t do much to halt it or heal the patients?

Isn’t sending 1,000 doctors to Wuhan more a PR move than anything else? And if it’s basically a PR stunt to appear to be “doing something,” doesn’t that call the entire official response into question?

If there is no targeted treatment available, then the recovery of the patient is a function of their immune system. Building tent hospitals that are porous–healthcare workers returning home after their shift, relatives visiting the stricken, workers moving supplies in and out of other facilities, etc.–will do little to isolate carriers and potential carriers. And since complete isolation is the only way to stem the contagion, these porous tent hospitals won’t do much to limit the contagion.

8. Are the travel bans on tours and other travel restriction measures 100%, in other words, not a single individual is being allowed in or out? If the travel restrictions are haphazard, then what’s stopping asymptomatic carriers of the virus from traveling freely around the world?

There are many other practical questions about the epidemic and China’s response that aren’t being addressed in the conventional media. While we don’t know precisely how contagious and lethal the virus is at this point–and it could mutate into a more contagious and lethal variation within a carrier at any moment–we do know complete isolation of every carrier and everyone they had close contact with is the only way to end the contagion.

We also know cities can’t truly be isolated for longer than a few days, and we know people can’t live without food, water, fuel, etc. and money to buy these essentials. We also know that restrictions that allow a significant number of people to move about, either with official approval or unsanctioned “black market” activity, cannot stop the spread of contagious diseases.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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Olivia KrothHaeuljamesDianaMonte George Jr. Recent comment authors
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Sally Snyder
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Sally Snyder

Here is an article that looks at how, over the next ten days, the coronavirus could spread to at least 200,000 people in Wuhan alone:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-epidemiology-of-new-corona-virus.html

With the disease being spread during the incubation phase, it is quite likely that it has spread far further than is currently believed, particularly given that over 5 million citizens of Wuhan were travelling prior to the city being quarantined.

oldandjaded
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oldandjaded

We have friends in Taipei right now, Canadian citizens that are there on behalf of the NGO we belong to. They are supposed to return Feb 2nd, I wonder if they will be able to leave?
I also have an ex-GF in Suzhou, about 60km inland from Shanghai.
Lunar new year is a HUUUUGE holiday all over Asia, when we have been in Vietnam for Tet, some of the main streets are closed to traffic, and literally hundreds of thousands are out in the street for MASSIVE street parties, the ideal situation for a pandemic to spread.

Monte George Jr.
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Monte George Jr.

Does anyone know of any instance of this disease occurring in any caucasian, black or other genetically non-asian victim? This could have implications for the origin/intent and spread of the virus.

Diana
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Diana

I have read that Wuhan is massively polluted and many of the inhabitants suffer all the time from respiratory illnesses. I’m still a bit sceptical about this panic and how the doctors diagnose this particular virus. The new vaccine (of course there is always one that will make shedloads of money for Big Pharma) will be rushed out with absolutely no long-term testing of any kind and with adjuvents that will depress the immune systems of healthy people; which is what vaccines do. As to the Spanish flu epidemic, I have read somewhere that it was launched on the population… Read more »

Haeul
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Haeul

Th Chinese authorities are doing as well as can be expected. We can only thank God this happened in a country like China and not, say, India, or the world would be in a real pickle.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

It came from “outside China”, (made in a US laboratory), now it travels back outside China.

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