Global Healthcare Resources Webinar – Friday March 13th
Early Saturday morning I tuned into a Webinar being delivered by one of the world’s leading experts in the field. Marc Lipsitch,
Professor of Epidemiology with primary appointment at the Department of Epidemiology and a joint appointment at the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Marc is an author of more than 250 peer-reviewed publications on antimicrobial resistance, epidemiological methods, and mathematical modelling of infectious disease and one of the most featured experts in international media surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Webinar was conducted by Global Healthcare Resources, one of the resources I reach to often for updates and new information. The interview was brief but helpful.
Dr Lipsitch shared that the need for closing big public events and to establish social distancing was to prevent spikes in new cases of infection. When the Wuhan outbreak commenced, the peak was so huge, the demand on Intensive Care far outstripped available beds. In fact, the demand measured about three times the available bedspace in all of US
He said that when we hear about new cases in the media, we are hearing about the discovery of existing cases. There can be many more new cases, as yet undetected.
If you imagine a bell curve on a graph, in Wuhan the curve was really sharp with many cases appearing in a short time. Flatten the curve takes the pressure off public health system. This is the primary motivation for Social Distancing and involves cancelling Public Gatherings, perhaps closing Houses of Worship, Restaurants, Sporting Events, Theatres and anywhere else people may gather in numbers.
History shows social distancing reduces the lower infection rates – Flatter curve
- Less infected
- People get it later – which means they tend to have more knowledge about the virus.
- Less strain on healthcare
Dr Lipsitch said that as an employer, you can take steps to action the following:
- Improving building ventilation
- Allow paid sick leave
- Reducing incentives for people to come to work ill
- Promote Working from home where possible
He shared that in US it will be more likely to be presentation of symptoms as the reason for discovering illness rather than from tests.
He shared that Social Distancing is far more effective than going by a Case approach, which we were doing in Australia because, using a Case based approach we are only catching a small number of cases.
The sense of urgency comes from Wuhan with late interventions leading to huge pressures on health care. Seattle and Northern Italy have experienced overwhelming pressure on Health Care System (HCS)
He shared that there is significant concern among the Epidemiology community that the US is a week and a half away from being in the same position as Italy. They fear the country is past the point of containment.
The only way to stop it is via social containment. Cases could be 50 times higher than stated number. Data is so poor. Could be missing as many as 49 out of 50 cases.
This part really caught my attention. These figures relate to the US but can be applied anywhere. How fast can it go from 50,000 to 1 million – doubles every 3 – 6 days. Six weeks from now, 50 million. He said that 20-60% will be infected and 1 in 200 will die.
He went on to share that people are comparing Corona Virus to the flu. HE said that he believes it to be worse than any seasonal flu we have ever had and worse than all pandemics other than 1918. It is in that league.
China went to war on the virus and locked down the entire country. Very intense measures to slow things down are very appropriate. To maintain the flat curve, the lock downs have to occur for a longer time. It has slowed right down in China but that doesn’t mean it can’t come back.
Interventions in place for a long time are very costly. How long: When might a peak happen?
A Temporary Peak might happen if we control transmission by social distancing etc. But another peak can come if you take the pressure off. This is going to run for months.
He went on to share that there is nothing bad about being outside the house. The problem is large numbers of people and poor ventilation. Staying home means avoiding being around lots of people. People do need to live their lives, just avoid being around large gatherings of people, especially indoors.
In relation to Treatment Plans. Vaccines will take at least a year, probably a lot longer. Anti-viral drugs are being tested. No results in yet.
He was asked what do workplaces need to close?
- He recommended to close everything except schools and mass transit. He said he was leaning to closing schools, but these things are so disruptive. This is about disease control versus social disruption
- Workplaces are dangerous because people are so packed together.
- A B Model is a good plan. 1 Person one day, and the other another day. Reduces density of people. But be mindful of how dense a house is.
Social distancing is a societal phenomena. It works if people do it. You do it for others as much as you do it yourself. Best if human contact is done in small groups and outdoors.
Other Points he raised include:
- Warmer temperatures may reduce the spread but that is not a given.
- Not Sharing food is an option although sharing food has not been shown as a causative factor. All about making it less easy for transmission.
- Will Supply Chains be broken? He could not predict.
- China will go off pause but will have to go back on?
- Full scale economic and societal slow down
- There is talk of Domestic Travel Restrictions in the US, but this he felt is an Irrational Response.
FURTHER FOR BUSINESSES
- Get buildings in as good shape as you can
- Work from home plans
- Prepare for disruptions to Mass Transit
The World Health Organisation Press Conference:
Following the Webinar, I was lucky enough to notice a message on LinkedIn heralding the pending commencement of a WHO Press Conference. I decided to watch it. Am glad I did because I learned more and also got to learn about Dr Michael Ryan, the Irish Physician who is heading up the emergency response. I was touched by his humanity and his unshakeable dedication to care.
We have to remember that there are still other issues doing on
- Babies Born
- Cancer Treatments
- Accident Emergencies
- Diseases being Treated
Health Care workers are so needed. It is the International year of the Nurse and the Midwife. Huge burden on them and their families.
Statistics as per 3am Saturday Australian time.
- 132000 cases reported from123 countries.
- 5000 people lost their lives
- Europe is the Epicentre – more cased being reported daily in Europe than when reported in china at the height of its epidemic
WHO Has 8 Pillars to follow
Here is a link to the Executive Director’s opening remarks. It is a short read but very helpful.
Following are further notes from the questions delivered to the panel, including Dr Ryan.
This is a new virus. We are learning. Simple effective things we can all do.
Cover mouth if you cough
Stay home if you are sick
Avoid unnecessary travel
Find and share reliable information
Social Distancing is required when there is a loss of tracking of who is ill and the contract tracing of those individuals. It is a costly intervention. Specific purpose of slowing down infection enough to protect the public health system.
Signs and Symptoms
Fever, Dry Cough, Aches and Pains.
Dr Ryan shared that there is rarely a case for blanket travel bans. There may be a case for restricting movement between areas within a country.
We have to work together to remove stigma – like at the current stigma against Asians and Asian run businesses here in Australia. We have to look out for the vulnerable, Migrants, Prisoners, the lonely etc. We must leave no-one behind. We are in this together. Dr Ryan reiterated, look out for the vulnerable.
He also warned, if you need to be right before you move you are never going to win. The Greatest error is to be paralysed by the fear of failure. Perfection is the enemy of successful action. We must acknowledge our leadership when they make strong decisions. We have to work as a team. No sense making anyone wrong. Support every effort. Work as a team.
My Personal Tips: Based on my Research
From everything I have read, it seems that all the medical authorities believe this virus is passed on by touch, not breathed in. For this reason, authorities are telling us that wearing a face mask is a wasted effort.
For this reason, we are being advised to avoid touch, and to clean our hands as face touching is a habitual action. However, there is another warning about over-washing of the hands. If your skin dries out, it can open tiny cracks in the skin, openings for the virus to enter the body.
Viruses are anaerobic lifeforms. They cannot propagate and multiply in a highly oxygenated area. This is why it is less infective outdoors. Oxygen is the best disinfectant. The places the virus may enter the body are most commonly the mouth and the ear canals.
Hydrogen Peroxide use is an old method from nearly 100 years ago. You can read more here.
Hydrogen Peroxide is Water with an added Oxygen Atom on the molecule. Water – H2O. Hydrogen Peroxide – H2O2. 3% and 6% Hydrogen Peroxide solutions are available in Pharmacies. An effective self-care is to gargle a cap full of 6% Hydrogen Peroxide in a ¼ cup of water daily will kill any virus harbouring in the throat.
For your ears, place 3 drops of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide in one ear (laying on your side) and allow it to sit there for 3-4 minutes. You may feel a bubbling or crackling sensation. Wipe your ear and then do the other side. This can be done every few days, or if you feel any hint of any symptoms. It is a powerful remedy for stopping normal cold or flu if you act on first noticing symptoms.
Do whatever you can to improve your immunity:
- Eat fermented foods and drink fermented beverages like Kombucha and Kefir,
- Spend time out in nature
- Get plenty of sunlight
- Avoid excess alcohol and sugar
- Get adequate rest
- Laugh a lot. Reduce seriousness.
- Handle your stress. Meditate if you like.
- Do whatever you can to help others. Acting in a way that leaves you feeling good about yourself relaxes your entire being and supports the wellbeing of your microbiome.