Coronaios: In our hands the reversal of the course – What does the Asian recipe for universal mask use show



With record numbers in the number of cases detected, there is no doubt about the dynamics of the pandemic in our country. Dynamics that seem to be going hand in hand with those of European countries as we experience the second wave of SARS-CoV-2 spread. . The hidden hope was that by winter medicines and vaccines would gradually rid us of the virus and the need for social distancing measures, which are not only tiring but also severely affect the economy. Distant hopes for the vaccine Today, the hopes for safe and effective Vaccines certainly remain alive, but it is rather unrealistic to assume that there will be a vaccine (even in quantities measured in billions of doses) that will protect us from the virus before the coming winter. As for the drugs, clinical trials have not confirmed the expectations for remedisivir. Thus, the only drug currently available to treat the virus is dexamethasone, which has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the deaths of those seriously ill with COVID-19. It is comforting that doctors, both internationally and in our country, have become better at dealing with the disease. However, the above means that there are currently no specific antiviral drugs for the virus, nor preventive approaches, although it is hoped that in addition to vaccines and monoclonal antibody therapies, which are still being tested, could be administered. and condoms. Key questions for the immediate future So where are we about SARS-CoV-2? How does the country compare to its former self and what does its future look like? How should we proceed from now on? We asked these and other questions to two Greek scientists, who since the beginning of the pandemic have been monitoring the spread of the virus, each from his own hometown: to Mr. Dimitris Paraskevi, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the National and Kapodistrian Medical School Of the University of Athens (EKPA), and to Mr. Demosthenes Sarigiannis, Professor of Environmental Engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and head of the HERACLES team, which through the European HERA program develops models for health risk assessment. Today’s Greece with the Greece of March as many parameters have changed. Parameters that concern both the way in which the whole society perceives the risk, as well as the resilience of the economy but also the attitude of the central administration “Mr. Paraskevis told us and explained:” In March we entered a lockdown hoping that we will control the spread of an unknown virus. The positive response of the people gave the expected result. Today, however, there is, of course, expected fatigue in society. This fatigue, combined with ideological behaviors, exemplified by pandemic deniers, reduces the acceptance of the measures taken, despite our previous collective experience proving that the key to managing the spread of the virus is timely adoption. meters. Which of course can not be horizontal, as the impact on the economy must be taken into account, with all that entails “. Cases and fluid parameters The timely taking of measures is also supported by the models “run” by Professor Sarigiannis’s team, whose predictions seem to be confirmed by the observed increase in cases in recent weeks. However, Mr. Sarigiannis points out that the daily number of cases is not a safe indicator of the course of the pandemic. “First of all, the number of cases is directly related to the number of tests performed. Many more tests are being performed today than at the beginning of the pandemic. We then estimated that the true number of cases could be up to ten times higher than established. Today we estimate that this number is about four times higher. Of course, it is not the only one used: in order to “run” our model, the number of deaths is also used, while the needs for ICU beds are also taken into account. As for the number of cases, it is more correct to express it with the rolling weekly average. ”But where is the model based and how are its predictions confirmed, when the situation is so fluid and when even the actual number of cases cannot be calculated “The model, which was originally developed to study the effect of population exposure to environmental factors and then adapted for the pandemic, is a dynamic multi-state model that is constantly improving,” he said. Sarigianis and explained: “For example, for the disease there are about 5 different conditions, from healthy and asymptomatic to severely ill. We use thoughtful behavioral models of the population which we “run” thousands of times, while at the same time we take into account parameters such as the weather. The effect of weather is evaluated on the basis of two axes: on the one hand the way it affects the transmission, as temperature, humidity and solar radiation play a role in it, and on the other hand the effect it has on human behavior, as the temperature drop increases the time of stay indoors “. The value of models and measures It is worth noting that models do not have the role of Pythia! They are useful because they can assess the effect that certain parameters will have on the outcome of an ongoing event. In this case, the models can quantify the impact of specific measures on the outcome of the pandemic. From the summer, the model of Mr. Sarigiannis and his associates predicted the current development, if the appropriate measures were not taken. But we got here despite the measures! What happened; The Greek professor estimates that the measures were taken “firefighting” and not “precautionary” and in addition that if they had been implemented properly, we would not have observed this increase in cases today. However, he notes that it is not too late to reverse this dynamic: and with the existing measures we could tame the evolution of the pandemic and by the end of November achieve a rolling weekly average of 177 cases “. However, he believes that, given the fatigue of the population, the measures should be simple and understandable, such as the use of a mask everywhere, combined of course with maintaining distance and proper hygiene. The Asian recipe with masks The universal Indoor and outdoor mask use seems to be one of the secrets of the successful recipe followed by many Asian countries, such as China, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, to prevent the spread of the virus. “Indeed, these countries have proven to be more prepared to deal with the pandemic than the countries of the western world. Familiarization of their citizens with the use of the mask was a given as the mask is widely used as a means of prevention of other airborne infections, such as the flu. “Many of us remember Asians wearing masks at airports long before the pandemic,” Paraskevi said. “There is no doubt that human behavior facilitates or prevents the transmission of the virus and the low incidence in these countries.” proves it. It should be noted, however, that mask use and general adherence to the rules are not enough to explain the success of Asian countries in controlling the spread of the virus. At the same time, it was a huge operation to test and track the contacts of confirmed cases, often electronically. “Tasks” for both sides It is probably unfounded to hope that the Asian model could be transferred to Greece or to any other country in the western world. . However, this shows a way: it indicates on the one hand that the duty of the citizens is the observance of the measures and on the other hand that the duty of the state is, among other things, the systematic control and also the systematic tracking of the contacts of the cases. Hopeful, however, is the fact that the HERACLES team model shows that, given the universal use of the mask, maintaining the average weekly rolling number of cases at 177 is possible until the end of December (further forecasts are not possible due to lack of weather forecasts). In other words, we can still hope for a Merry Christmas. The “contribution” of schools to the increase in cases was small. According to the HERACLES team model, at present the contribution of school opening to the observed increase in cases is not significant. However, as Mr. Sarigiannis points out, “until recently, the weather was our ally. Children could go out into the courtyard and the rooms could be ventilated. It remains to be proven that we will do just as well in the winter, where undoubtedly the students’ coexistence will be greater “. The relentless data for the virus Internationally, but also in our country, SARS-CoV-2 invades. We are all potential (carriers) of it, but some are more at risk. We all have every reason to stop its spread. At the time of writing, the number of cases worldwide is 41,486,979, while the number of people who have died from the virus is 1,136,339. The number of people infected with the virus is estimated at 30,913,803, which means that there are 9,436,837 active cases, of which about 1% are in critical condition. The aggregate data for our country are as follows: the total number of confirmed laboratory cases is 27,334, while the total number of deaths is 534. Based on the above data, a mortality of 2% results. However, it would be inaccurate to say such a thing: worldwide it is estimated that the actual cases of the virus are much higher than those found in the laboratory. To date, mortality from SARS-CoV-2 is estimated at approximately 0.5% worldwide. Which means that for every 200 people infected with the virus, one person dies because of it. Compared to the influenza virus, SARS-CoV-2 is 5 to 25 times more lethal, as depending on the strain, the mortality of the influenza virus ranges from 0.02% to 0.1%. Although no one is safe and everyone can be infected with the virus, the risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from it is inextricably linked to age. According to the official data of EODY, while in the age groups from 0 to 17 and from 18 to 39 years a little more than 50% of the cases have been recorded, the death rates are zero (fortunately!) For the first group and only 0, 9% for the second. The age group from 40 to 64 years represents 37% of the cases and 17% of the deaths, while the group over 65, although it constitutes only 12.4% of the cases, represents 82% of the deaths. mortality rates internationally. In the UK, the risk of death from COVID-19 is estimated at 0.29% for those aged 45 to 64, rising to 2.2% for those aged 65 to 75 and to 12% for those over 75 There is an increase in cases worldwide and both Europe and our country do not seem to break this rule. However, the increase itself is not a worrying phenomenon, the growth rate is the reason for concern: according to the official data of EODY, the number of cases in our country has doubled in one month and the deaths have doubled from in early September. This kind of dynamic we are now called to face. Follow it on Google News and be the first to know all the news See all the latest News from Greece and the World, at



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