At the moment it looks like no one agrees on to whether strong generalised population testing is an effective measure. Some argument that it will create a generalised sensation that there is no need for social distancing, others argument that it is simply bad usage of resources.
However the real data shows that no country a side from those which closed borders, used testing and 14 day quarantine like in Asia (Macau for example) could actually contain the virus from entering inside the population. The countries that hopped to contain it inside their population failed completely. They failed to understand the virus strengths.
As the virus propagates throughout the population, and as we can only pick 20% of infections it is clear that only a combined approach of testing and isolation is possible to regain the upper hand again. One idea is to all of us stay at home and don’t leave for any reason for about 14 days, however this does not seem a good solution. Another option is to isolate enough so that we make the curve linear in some way until it drops. That however can take very long with economic damaging effects.
Testing with isolation can give strong results on small localities where the virus hasn’t propagated in a generalised manner. After a containment fail everywhere I am expecting that eventually there will be a need to deal with the pandemic in an organised manner. How?
- Region based lockdown;
- Test and isolate strategy;
- Re test and free up for commerce.
- Determine how many and where distributed the population that have already built defences agains the pathogen.
When dealing with a complex problem, one needs to divide in simple problems. Each region will not have direct contact with the others, unless for commercial goods distribution which should be disinfected.
Every time one region gets freed from the virus, commercial activities resume but isolation with other maintains. This strong but effect strategy by dividing and conquer method allows to dedicate resources to the active zones, meanwhile maintaining the economy running and releasing steam on some part of the population and local economy, also giving hope to the heat zones that their time will come.
We cannot take effective measures if the virus appears everywhere and at any point in time.
How to make this happen isn’t easy for it may require to reduce population liberties even further, like for instance.
- Population tracking;
- Population forced confinement to an even harsher level;
Tracking would be necessary because if any infected individual traverses the border we lose confidence on our measure and the virus silently propagates.
Every time someone goes out it poses a risk to general community spread.
If done gradually every country can muscle their measures on a step by step approach internally but at a huge social liberty cost.
However this is not enough. Population in general is a sitting duck to this virus. And since the world cannot wait 1 year for a vaccine, all of us need to think how we can take advantage of the virus fast propagation against itself and immunise population to create a barrier to those which cannot defend themselves agains it. Most of the measures so far, are to save lives reducing the burden on the healthcare system but at a cost that can send humanity to an even worst scenario of economic chaos.