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COVID-19: Prevention Strategies

While Covid-19 is spreading around the world, authorities and healthcare professionals are trying to avoid a sharp increase in the number of cases. For this reason, as the experts say, flattening the curve is vital to avoid overloading the healthcare system and reduce mortality. The attempts to control the spread of the virus aim to reduce the overall number of sick people. The coronavirus pandemic has a shocking global scale, and countries are choosing different strategies to combat it. Researchers suggest two methods, including suppression, which means keeping the number as low as possible, and mitigation, when the spread is not interrupted; the society is expected to develop herd immunity.

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The first strategy of flattening the curve means that the government must limit close contacts between people and force them to practice social distance. This means the canceling of public events and restricting traveling, as well as making people learn and work from homes. The method can be considered effective because the disease spreads through the air; therefore, this significantly reduces the number of cases. More importantly, the hospital will not be overcrowded, which usually provokes the spread. In this way, it becomes possible to flatten the incidence curve. The effectiveness of the second strategy is doubtful since it will dramatically increase the work overload for hospitals. In the case where hundreds of thousands of people become ill simultaneously within a short period of time, many doctors will become infected as well. In these conditions, most patients will not receive proper treatment.

Strategy scenarios for flattening the curve
Fig. 1 Strategy scenarios for flattening the curve (Ferguson et al., 2020, p. 8).
Tests conducted per confirmed case of COVID-19
Case fatality rate of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Germany, Norway, and Russia are European countries where the healthcare systems are available for all citizens without any charges. For this reason, it would be interesting to explore how these countries have worked with the initial overload in hospitals. In the beginning, one can see that a number of tests of confirmed cases in Russia are significantly bigger than in Germany or Norway, but currently, it has the lowest position on this graphic. However, it means that there are fewer tests available to the public than in Germany and Norway. Therefore, it can be assumed that it is easier to diagnose the coronavirus in these two countries, which allows more people to get help in a timely manner. As a result, the case fatality rate is also higher in Germany and Norway as the number of confirmed cases is bigger. While it is possible that in Russia more deaths occurred because of coronavirus, they were not diagnosed and, hence, did not get into statistics.

Reference

Ferguson, N., Laydon, D., Nedjati Gilani, G., Imai, N., Ainslie, K., Baguelin, M., & Dighe, A. (2020). Report 9: Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand.

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