British Columbia is failing in their response to COVID-19
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South Korea's model of response, supported by the World Health Organization, has been shown to work. Test, isolate, quarantine and #masks4all. Every moment of delay means more deaths.
1. Extreme quarantine measures fast.
We must apply strict controls immediately. Exponential growth means every moment of delay significantly increases infection and death rate. The results of any measures we take do not change infection rates immediately. It will take weeks before there is any effect on the numbers of cases, and over a month for any effect on the death rate. Slowly applying measures, as one after another fails to work, is the path Italy followed. We do not want that!
We need to be proactive, not reactive.
2. Mass testing of everyone.
Testing lets us know who is infected. The sooner we know someone is infected, the sooner we can isolate them, and reduce the number of people they infect. The point is to reduce the R0 (the expected number of cases directly generated by one person). Testing also provides transparency into the effects of all measures that are put in place, and allows proper contact tracing. If we do not know what is going on, we cannot know if what we are doing is working or not. If there is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately, we need to be able to see it.
3. Proper tracing of case contacts.
This requires testing because due to the contagiousness of the virus, the true number of contacts of a person who has tested positive can be very large. Just because someone was at a conference for only a few hours does not mean they didn't infect people and begin a super-seeding event. The province's method of tracing contacts is virtually never sufficiently thorough and complete. They are always telling people the risk is low. We need the risk to be much lower.
4. Honest and transparent communication.
We cannot protect our people by telling them what to do without first educating them on the true nature of the virus. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry tells us to separate, but still insists the virus is mostly transmitted symptomatically. This is false. This virus is very contagious, and transmission has been proved to occur in the days before symptoms appear. In certain situations it can be transmitted by aerosol (suspended particles), and hang in the air for hours. This is why we implement physical distancing. This is a very frightening virus.
Many people in the province are understandably confused about the difference between 'discovered cases' and the actual real number of 'cases' in the population, and there have been specific efforts to downplay the likelihood of community transfer, despite the fact that we have known of its existence for weeks. Messaging intended to keep people calmer is encouraging people to continue to behave in ways that are now dangerous.
We are told masks do not work, even though the research shows that they slow the spread. Yes, we need to triage supplies, but eventually people will know what is really going on, and have less trust. Eventually we will need to obtain masks and distribute them, as we did in the pandemic of 1918.
Singapore's government was honest with that country's people; are we less capable of the truth? Everyone who survives will know this virus; they will become COVID-19 experts. We cannot protect them from this. We are going to be educated one way or the other: either by the government or by terror.
With the exception of honest communication, which is easy, these are very difficult things to accomplish. We must move mountains to accomplish all of them. We will move mountains eventually; terror will make us move them. If we move them earlier, not only will it be be easier but many less people will have to die. We have an amazing province filled with amazing people, companies and technology. We have huge capacity.
Our leadership is failing us on all four points.
They failed to restrict entry of the virus into our population, nor did they use the extra time we had to prepare properly. Our medical system is disastrously not ready, and it will collapse very quickly.
We must adapt to our new situation and change fast. We must do everything in our power to help our medical staff because our province did almost nothing. We do not just have a personal immune system; we have a community immune system. Every minute of delay is fatal.
Please sign and circulate the petition to let our leaders know you want them to take urgent action. Take care and be safe!
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