According to the Johns Hopkins Resource Center as of March 16, the UK has 1,551 cases with 37 deaths. The testing has not been even close to what the South Koreans have been able to accomplish. South Korea’s speedy testing, contact tracing, social distancing, and quarantine have resulted in 8,236 cases with 75 deaths and a sharp drop in both new infections (cases) and deaths. Public health officials worldwide are applauding their efforts for flattening the curve.
Over 100 million people in Europe are currently in lockdown. Ramping of testing in Europe will confirm a dramatically worse situation. Romania has not only closed its borders, like several other European states but is also subjecting its residents to a huge 4,000 euro fine for disobeying social distancing and other public health rules. In China, people who are masking the illness with self-medication to avoid detection before flights, are subject to six years imprisonment.
In the US, we currently have 4,110 cases with 71 deaths (42 deaths in Washington State). Over 2,000 labs are rapidly coming online to perform over 2 million tests in the next several days. Numbers show that we have a massive community spread. If we extrapolate the current UK numbers, the US will face a massive fatality rate. The US with a population of 350 million will see 70% of its population infected i.e. 245 million. Twelve of this 245 million will become seriously sick, 5% of this 245 million or 12.25 million will be in critical condition and 80% of the 245 million will be facing a mild illness and full recovery. Let’s hope I have made a fundamental error in judgment.
No health care system in the world can manage this pandemic. Life and our priorities are going to change for many of us for the next few months and we must ask ourselves, how are we going to help people that are weak and struggling. This pandemic will ultimately come to an end and life will go back to normal for some, but not for a while.