Please note, I am NOT an expert in this field and this an expression of my understanding of information I have read and heard from various public broadcasts and articles.
Never before have we locked people up in their homes for a number of months. This situation of COVID19 is the great leveller and nobody is immune. Effectively the whole world has shut down. This will end but until then we are surviving in a very different world.
COVID 19 is the biggest thing we have seen in a lifetime. This is my understanding and summary.
31 December 2019 whilst Australia is facing unprecedented fires China reports an unusual pneumonia.
January 8th 2020, page 7 down the bottom right of the page it appeared in Australia as a relatively new obscure story in the Australian newspaper about Hong Kong worrying about a new virus in Wuhan, central China. Back then the bushfire crisis and Harvey Weinstein was what was filling our front pages of our newspapers.
11 January 2020 China reports first death of a 61 year old man, a regular customer at the Wuhan wet markets
19 January 2020 The first case of a Novel Caronavirus outside of maintain China reported, which was thought to originate in the Wuhan, Hubei Province.
23 January 2020 Wuhan was blocked off from the world with 17 dead and 570 infected.
30th January 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declare a public health emergency of international concern.
31 January 2020 the United Sates Of America restricted travel coming from China by now 9800 people were infected world wide.
Donald Trump publicly plays down the virus telling Americans they have the situation well under control. Telling them the risk to American people remains very low.
Beginning of feb and the Diamond Cruise ship is quarantined in Japan with 3000 passengers on board.
7 February 2020 a Chinese doctor who tried to warn authorities about the disease died.
11 February 2020 the virus gets its name COVID19 an acronym for Caronavirus Virus Disease 2019
12 February 2020 44,653 cases worldwide
14 February 2020 France reports the first Caronavirus virus death in Europe an 80 year old Chinese tourist. Now more than 15,000 people have died in France as of 15.4.2020
– It is now known that it takes three weeks to die from Caronavirus COVID-19 if it is a fatal case.
Week one – signs and symptoms ( fever, cough, headache and other flu like symptoms)
Week two a pneumonia develops
Week 3 worsening pneumonia and eventual demise of the patient resulting in death
Iran didn’t report any cases known however reported it’s first deaths so authorities from other countries knew it had at least been circulating in Iran for three weeks. In that time many people had travelled to and from Iran unchecked.
One month later after China reporting its first case of Novel Caronavirus….
19 February 2020 621 people on the Diamond Princess ship are infected and those not are offloaded from the ship.
Donald Trump declares this virus a democratic hoax.
2 days later and 4 weeks since the first case.
21st February 2020 Italy’s first death was recorded along with a cluster of cases in Lombardy, Northern Italy.
6 days later and 5 weeks since the first case
27th February 2020 an escalation of Australian cases was announced by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and a coronavirus response plan put in place.
Some say we should of closed our borders earlier.
Mass gathering still allowed.
Planning a mess at that point.
29 February 2020 community transmission. Now there’s risk of losing control that community spread is identified . Stay home. Stop human contact. An attempt to ‘flatten the curve’. These 3 words will become well known around the world.
1 March 2020 Western Australia announced first Australian died and had been a passenger apon the Diamond Princess ship.
3 March 2020 second Australian death . Still huge public events taking place. Sporting games, concerts and similar.
12 March 2020 the WHO declare COVID19 a Pandemic
Grand Prix still to go ahead however just before race began it was cancelled leaving many lined up at the entrance gates angry.
USA had already stopped sports. Australia in hindsight say they should of called off sporting events sooner.
13 March 2020 a national crisis cabinet is formed. 500 people or greater gatherings stopped.
Australian Cabinet Minister Peter Dutton tests positive for coronavirus. Still no screening at airport of passengers arriving from the US.
Two travellers from US concerned they had symptoms went to a hospital and told no testing was available on a weekend, to go home and self isolate so they went to another hospital that tested them in which the test came back positive. Testing still limited with strict criteria and difficult to get.
With Australia short of testing kits only patients with strict guidelines to be tested. This limited options for what the doctors could advise what we do and difficult for Authorities to assess the spread of the disease.
Self isolation isn’t affective if authorities are truly wanting to quarantine as it relies on people doing the right thing. On one spot check by police one third of people who were ordered to self isolate were absent from their homes at the time of the check.
19 March 2020 Italy overtakes China as the highest death toll. With 3554 deaths. and Italy’s death toll is now surpassing 21,000.
This disease can cause a very severe pneumonia. Our numbers were showing we were on the same trajectory as Italy. Something had to change to stop that.
20 March 2020 all foreigners banned from coming to Australia . Ruby Cruise ship debacle where thousands of passengers some infected disembarking the ship without screening, which had led to the Ruby cruise ship debacle accounting for 30% of the Australian COVID19 deaths to date.
Australians still ignoring restrictions- Bondi beach footage sparked further restrictions.
22 March 2020 further restrictions announced. Clubs, bars restaurants , cinemas, casinos and night clubs etc closed the next day. Schools still to remained open.
23 March 2020 NSW and Victoria. Australia’s two biggest states broke ranks and closed schools
Young people spread the disease. 30% of infections are most likely substantial undetected spread of infection from children and young people.
Korea – 20-29 year olds as in Australia had the highest levels of infection . Children can also get very sick albeit rare.
24 March 2020 WHO says the USA could become the new epicentre of the virus.
25 March 2020 there was an expansion of criteria for testing announced by Australian authorities.
26 March 2020 The USA becomes the new epicentre for the virus now surpassing any other country with 80,589 cases with more than half being in New York. Cases soaring. Early March only 100 cases had been reported. America now has 610,688 cases at 15.4.20 writing this article.
27 March 2020 more restrictions. All overseas arrivals to be quarantined in hotels for 2 weeks of mandatory self isolation.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for COVID19.
29 March 2020 more restrictions on public gatherings. 10 persons to now 2 persons . Play grounds, outside gyms and skate parks closed.
Britain Doctors running out of PPE being sent into battle ill equipped. Inadequate PPE or forced to work without PPE. Fears they are going to be infected and die. At the time 60 plus drs had died in Italy.
It is said it will take a generation to replace health care workers.
2 April 2020 Boris Johnston stands out the front of Downing Street clapping, the second clap for ‘ Clap for our Carers’
6 April 2020 Prime Minister Boris Johnston is admitted to intensive care at St Thomas’s Hospital. England’s death toll rising and thousands of confirmed cases.
Death tolls are reported around the world in the hundreds each day, 700 plus being a regular number.
7 April 2020. The Australian Victorian Government announced, ‘most students will be educated from home when term 2 starts to ensure physical distancing helps slow the spread of carina virus’. Free internet and computers will be provided for those who need them. The closure or opening of schools has been a continual source for debate and varied decisions in each Of the Australian states.
12 April 2020 Boris Johnston discharged from hospital and it was reported whilst in ICU he was given a 50:50 chance of survival. He thanks healthcare workers for saving his life saying the NHS saved his life.
15 April 2020 confirmed COVID19 cases 1,992,189, recovered 467,207, deaths 126,066 and its reported that President Donald Trump of the USA halts funding to the World Health Organisation giving a reason being its poor handling of the Caronavirus COVID19. President Trump says US taxpayers provide between $US400 million and $US500 million the the WHO every year.
However according to the WHO’s financial records, the US have actually been invoiced $US57,883,460 for two years of funding. It has not yet paid the amount.
The US with the worlds third-largest population has recorded more fatalities from COVID19 than any other country. To date that being 25,658.
1. Flatten the curve. Other countries have done this
2. Become like Italy and US and get a rapid rise
Herd immunity in Australia, what would that look like. 25 million people, our population. Best estimates for herd immunity to happen in Australia is that 60% would have to become infected, that’s 15 million people, and if the mortality rates is 1% that’s 150,000 deaths.
It’s estimated we will run out of critical beds when about 45,000 infected within Australia
Getting immunity may not mean it will last forever. How long will immunity last we don’t know yet. People with COVID19 may be asymptotic, how many people, we don’t know.We don’t know enough about this virus. We need more data. By flattening the curve with restrictions and self distancing guidelines buys time for hospitals to prepare by uptraining staff and the government purchase of more ventilators and others medical supplies.
Why aren’t Sweden social isolating? Their government went for the herd immunity approach. Let’s look at their population. Stats are that 50% live alone, and 60% already do some work from home and they felt they had the Intensive care beds to cater for the sick. In Australia so far there’s been 2 deaths for every 1 million people, in Sweden it’s been 89. This has put a lot of pressure on the Swedish Government to abandon the plan and put stricter measures in place.
Different countries populations have different ingrained mindsets and responses to government so it’s hard to compare.
Overall I think Australia has acted well in containing the virus so far but there’s always the debate between health and economic damage.
Moving forwards in Australia we need adequate data that tells us what the death rate really is, a hospital system that can cope, and hopefully a treatment.
At the moment we are on the life raft with our current management plan, getting off may mean natural immunity, but we needed to get on the life raft whilst we learnt more about this virus and how to combat it. Getting off too early could be premature and risky.
There will be PhD’s written for years to come on this. Societies, health and wealth. How all three are in twined.
Disaster plans written for future events, strategic economic and health plans. When it first started people said the world is changed forever. I initially was like how? But as time has passed I understand why life will never be the same.
Economically our lives will be much poorer for years to come which will affect lifestyles.
Lifestyle in that we won’t have the same disposable cash, that effects so many aspects of life. Business’s will disappear, new ones will emerge, new jobs will be created, but unemployment will be high for some time.
There is 2 waves to this situation, initially saving lives and fighting a war with an invisible enemy and the second wave after the war is over is the economic fallout for many years to come.
Plus the war will never be over until a vaccine is found. This is not easy. The COVID19 virus is a Caronavirus which is in the group of viruses that cause the common cold, this is a new strain of this. To date scientists have not been successful in developing a vaccine against the common cold coronavirus’s despite years of research.
Because of desperate times to save humanity money will be getting poured into research more than ever to discover a vaccine to something that’s essentially been around forever in various forms with no success.
Scientists are going to have to think outside the square here but with injected funds can hopefully break the code.
Their aim is to find a way we can develop antibodies and something that’s safe to deliver on mass. Huge task.
When vaccines go wrong they can have devastating consequences as seen in the example of the polio vaccine where thousands of victims receiving the vaccine actually developed polio and suffered its consequences.
That then has a flow in affected of lack of trust and unwillingness to vaccinate making it harder and harder to optimally reach an acceptable community immunity level to prevent transmission.
This virus in a way united the whole world. You look at social media and it doesn’t matter what country people are in we are all affected. Someone in isolation in other countries like us talking. All experiencing the same thing.
This is humanity v virus. Very different and as we are so connected due to the internet a very global experience pandemics before would of been experienced by people.
Every human in the world is sharing this experience and we are all connected by the web.
We need a safe and successful immunisation program to win the war on this virus or at the very least treatment to shorten the duration and severity of illness.
The stakes are high and the scientists can’t afford to get this release of vaccine and dissemination of it wrong! People are weary of new vaccines generally until proven safe. Reluctance will already be there to some degree. Until mass immunity is achieved either through a carefully gained herd immunity or vaccine we cannot live as free citizen’s going about our daily lives as we once knew.