Preventative Measures for COVID-19
By: Kamryn Mansell
Amidst the pandemic that has reached virtually every corner of this world what exactly is being done to prevent this outbreak? Healthcare systems around the world are required to be prepared in the event that a pandemic occurs, but the courses of action for each system differs. The strategies that have been put forth from the variety of healthcare systems around the globe have shown to have different extents of effectiveness based upon the current situations that have emerged after the COVID-19 virus began it’s rapid spread.
Preventions early on were seen in places such as Germany through the closing of public places such as swimming pools, bars, clubs, museums as well as requiring masks to be worn in stores and on public transportation. Although there was backlash and numerous people with varying opinions on the entire matter the chancellor, Angela Merkel, held the laws firm with punishments such as fines for those who did not wish to
cooperate. There were tests being brought to citizens homes in an attempt to flatten the curve and minimize the number of individuals becoming affected. There are more than 6,000 cases spread around all 16 countries with 13 fatalities, this makes the rate 0.2% compared to the European average 3.8% which implies that the early reaction to the outbreak was meaningful and effective in comparison to other countries within Europe.
Italy has been majorly affected by the current pandemic with a death toll adding up to estimately 34,000 deaths. Upon the news of the third death due to COVID-19 came numerous restrictions for those residing in Italy. These restrictions disallowed people to move into or out of areas that were considered ‘outbreak’ areas and if caught doing so, a fine would be issued as a form of penalty. Much like other countries, schools, universities and other places that encourage social gatherings. Due to the amount of elderly individuals residing in Italy is much higher than seen in the past along with one of the major risk groups during this pandemic are elderly there has been high rates of death coinciding with the virus. It can be inferred that although preventative measures were taken early, due to circumstantial reasons the attempts to halt the pandemic’s fatal consequences was not as effective as seen in other places with similar actions that were taken.
The US HealthCare system was seemingly unprepared for such a pandemic due to prior decisions made to cut the team responsible for responding to pandemic such as this one. The effects of this decision are seen within the number of infected and the number of deaths. The number of infected individuals reaches up to 2,000,000 and the number of confirmed deaths are approximately 113,000. The increase in the number of COVID-19 cases is rapid and in correspondance many other countries the curve is flattening at a noticeably different rate. The measures taken to stop this spread and flatten the curve are differing for each state, but there is one commonality in which individuals are urged to stay in their homes and avoid contact with those outside of their own households. Due to the pandemic response team being seriously unprepared and unable to accommodate the large number of individuals who are needing treatment as well as many not having the healthcare to have themselves taken care of, the outcome has been numerous deaths that could have been avoided with a proper course of action. In the case of the US as a whole reacting to this pandemic it would be reasonable to assume that due to the facts about the current situation, a system which is prepared to look out for their people's best interest would have perhaps shown a different outcome.
In places such as Sweden, preventative measures that are unlike the majority of other countries preventative measures were taken. The government in Sweden meaning politicians had no say in the course of action taken in accordance with their citizens, it was left solely up to the decision of those in charge of fighting against pandemics, The Public Health Agency. The unique approach includes leaving large public areas open and allowing people to leave their homes without any lockdown restrictions. While it was recommended to avoid unnecessary meeting with others and to work from home when possible, there are no fines or punishments for those who do not cooperate. Due to this the number of individuals affected is on a steady rise.As of June 2020 the reported deaths being over 5,000 of the 56,000 infected makes the rate of fatality due to COVID-19 higher than many of the surrounding scandinavian countries which has seen death tolls in the hundreds rather than thousands. There has been copious backlash due to the seemingly controversial strategy used when attempting to prevent this outbreak from further spreading, the chief of epidemic response in Sweden has made statements such as the following “If we were to encounter the same disease again, knowing precisely what we know about it today, I think we would settle on doing something in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done,” -Tegnell. Measures taken in Sweden with the thought of ‘herd immunity’ are seemingly unsuccessful which is shown via the elevated number of deaths caused by COVID-19.
Different measures to prevent the spread of the virus COVID-19 were seen all around the world all with varying approaches. It is clear that no matter the preventions made, the outbreak of this virus is inevitable although the severity may be altered in accordance to decisions made by government officials or agencies responsible for protecting their people in the case of a pandemic like the current one. The question of which policies could be considered ‘more correct’ than others simply cannot be inferred solely upon statistics regarding those infected and those who are deceased due to the virus. This is due to the number of factors such as population, population density, amount of individuals who fall within the risk group and numerous others.
The outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting all of us alike and which preventions you personally take to stop the spread of this virus is likely the most useful resource in calming this worldwide pandemic.