Tag Archives: China

Coronavirus: Effective Social Distancing Measures

Whether it’s social distancing or physical distancing, it’s the same banana as everyone who has heard of social distancing understands that it actually means physical distancing.

So, what’s the brouhaha over this COVID-19 term? Let’s get to business!

So long as you keep yourself two meters away from the next human; so long as you cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze; so long as you stay home especially when you do not feel well – then you got the basics of distancing covered.

The future would be bleak if the world is left to irresponsible people.

If there’s no human to pass on the disease to, then you have succeeded in slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

Current Measures

Among the steps governments have taken to amplify distancing include:

  • Quarantine Pass. An ID pass that a designated household member has to possess whenever he gets out of his home to buy essentials.
  • Military or Police Posts. To make sure people only goes out for essentials and that distancing is done by those on the streets or the places they go to.
  • Lining Up. From supermarkets to pharmacies, people are to line up to get in the store (in batches) when purchasing. The problem here would be ‘wet markets’ where people just flock. Here is definitely a distancing failure. Moreover, not all wet markets are spacious aside from having the same entrance and exit points. Can ‘lining up’ work in wet markets? Possible if every batch are given, say, 20 minutes to buy their goods with vendors reminding their customers of social distancing and exits are different from entrances. Well, they just better have temperature checks at the entrance for assurance.
  • Cellophane Cover. Pharmacies and bakeries have placed cellophane barriers at the counter (or point of contact) to separate customers from the attending staff.
  • Senior Citizen Time. Grocery stores have the first three hours open only to senior citizens.
  • Passable Roads. This would reduce the areas where motorists and people ply, thereby, cutting places to monitor. Then again, reducing travel paths could also make social distancing ineffective as those who walk may have lesser room for distancing.
  • Cellphone Tracking. Though basically advanced countries would do this, tracking of this kind is simply to make sure that COVID-19 patients do not ‘mingle’ with anyone other than his caregiver. Thus, cellphone tracking should only be used on confirmed patients as well as the people they have been with. Privacy should be respected and maintained by the government and telecom companies.

However, these steps are still wanting in terms of ease in government implementation and public acceptance – as most people are simply uncooperative. Thence, to better social distancing efforts and more, the following should be applied as well.

Scheduling would ease crowded wet markets.

Market Day. Every locality should have a specific market day to control the number of people going to wet markets. Areas not scheduled for wet markets should be scheduled for groceries and pharmacies. This should be done in rotation with adjacent locales.

Use Influencers. Social media has its benefits. Collaborate with those who has tons of followers or subscribers and ask them to tell their followers to observe social distancing.

The use of influencers is like hiring a celebrity for product endorsements. However, no matter how popular the influencer, messages may fall on deaf ears as humans are social beings and most of them just lacks discipline. Besides, not all their followers are from one country or area. Even so, it’s still worth trying.

Hire Leaders. Okay, villages already have their chieftains – why not them? Village chiefs and alike are only good for villages and ‘market days’. Meanwhile, leaders are needed for a wider spectrum, like, regional or national in scope. And for exceptional ones, their logic – unless discriminated – would be acknowledged globally.

So, how about existing government leaders? Politicians just got to their posts due to a weak electoral system. Some may be qualified but that’s just on a traditional front which ordinary minds created. As in, the possession of diplomas or even their so-called ‘track record’ which is only due to customary barriers – but having nothing when it comes to grey matter and character. Most of the time, just a popularity contest.

Organizations seek ‘great’ achievers but scan with ‘traditional’ eyes, isn’t it ironic?

Thus, hire empathetic leaders and make them primary advisers at the very least. Real leaders who are critical thinkers, non-conformists and decisive. Leadership is about eloquence and vision, hence, these are those who ‘fights’ for the right principles, those who have years of sensible leadership blogging or podcasting instead of just yelling aimlessly in rallies. These are those who has solutions even for, like, stranded groups and migrant workers that poses distancing issues among others.

Real leaders are disrupters – and COVID-19 needs disrupting.

Coronavirus: Why are Countries Struggling against COVID-19

In our previous article, we talked about the methods currently used to contain the pandemic; and for this article, we get into why countries are still struggling against COVID-19.

What, no vaccine yet? Nahh. We know that vaccines take time to produce, so move on. Then, it’s because it’s an ‘unseen enemy’ that we are up against? Can’t be. That’s only applicable at the outset. It’s been months already, you should already know the ‘tricks’ that COVID-19 uses. Else, there’s no way governments could beat the coronavirus.

Then why the struggle?

Dissect our previous article. You will see that it’s simply because of speed and decisiveness. Thus, what impedes this is what made the struggle.

Overcoming COVID-19 Struggles

First. Pride. Remove that complacency that your country would not be affected because it’s advanced or that this would just disappear or that you just might be overreacting. Sure, you are the country’s elected leader but that does not mean you are the smartest – so, listen to your ‘smart’ advisers. Smart, not narcissistic advisers who only boasts of their alma mater (or position) when all a school has are facilities. Listen to ‘smart’ people whatever their social standing. These are the real leaders you need. Acknowledge them. Hire them. After all, it’s the smart who created civilization – it’s just that those who could really make a difference are prejudiced by impractical qualifications from ordinary minds or leaders who doesn’t understand ‘exception to the rule’.

Second. Prejudice. Don’t waste your energy finger-pointing. Cooperate. In times of emergency, support is what’s needed. If you are to blame or file charges of negligence or something on people or states, then just let two out of your 10 people do it. Not nine of them goes after the culprit, then only one would fight the virus. That would be a sure loss. Humans are smarter than any virus but learn to prioritize.

And never demean or take any race for granted like how the Ebola virus was treated. Like, richer countries didn’t immediately respond because they were not affected by the disease. Understand that the ‘tree’ you have is just the result of someone who planted it 20 years ago which may not necessarily be done by ‘yourself’. How much more if we talk about a thousand-year civilization?

Third. Involvement of the Rich and Powerful. Elites have the resources to help, then help with all your might. If you have 80 billion dollars and just donate 100 million, that’s nothing. See, you could even help the world if you really pour in your funds. So, don’t breadcrumb – and utilize your businesses and facilities to assist in any way possible. Remember, you became rich because of the people. You have nothing to invest if you didn’t have anything to begin with.

If you are a public official, don’t hide but be at the frontline. You are a public ‘servant’, you’re not a master. You are at your post because of the people. Don’t violate rules yourself but help the most vulnerable first.

Fourth. Protect Healthcare Workers. Imagine these medical workers even need to make their own PPEs? How could that be when just about every country even has a millionaire in the midst? Healthcare workers are very important in the control of COVID-19. Thence, provide them with all the supplies, equipment and support they need.

As we keep saying, your immune system speaks louder than testing and vaccines – work on it.

Fifth. Mix It Up. While there are three approaches to COVID-19, don’t stick to one. As we’ve said, lockdowns are only good especially if you lack the resources but it would not succeed if you don’t act with urgency. And if you don’t follow up with, say, strategic testing and tracking ‘patients’ through their cellphones.

If you still don’t have testing kits, no problem. Testing does not cure, it is only to know if one is infected. Without testing kits, treat everyone like a patient. Keep them home and just make sure to supply your people with ‘healthy food’. After all, food is why people work – first and foremost. Hence, if they have food, they don’t need to get out of their homes in COVID-19 times. Don’t just drown them with canned goods and ‘ready-to-eat’ processed meals, these are processed food that could harm their health after the coronavirus is long gone.

And if anyone in the household is ill, you know the drill. Self-isolate blah blah blah.

At the end of the day, while everyone is locked up and people are tested, speed up the vaccine and promote a lifestyle change to a healthier one. Mind you, it’s your immune system that really protects you. A vaccine only tells your body how to react to the virus. Without a functional car, your gasoline is useless.

Coronavirus: The Best Approach to Contain COVID-19

Two months into the coronavirus outbreak – governments are getting jittery, businesses are starting to crack, people are in panic and medical practitioners are overwhelmed as scientists scramble to create a vaccine, a cure.

As clinical trials have begun, this gave the planet some ray of hope that stopping this “unseen enemy” is not far behind. Then again, clinical trials do take time – especially if every nation that’s developing a vaccine wants to be the hero.

Competition instead of cooperation – and blaming instead of resolving.

Yet while the world awaits, different approaches have been tried to flatten the curve – with two obvious methods being done the world over and a third one thought to have been considered early on.

Herd Immunity

This approach is rooted with the thought that COVID-19 would become kind of a seasonal infection. Meaning, once you got (previously) infected, you would become immune to it.

Meaning, we would just all go about our lives as the virus makes 60-70 percent of the population sick to a point where its spread becomes limited. This is the approach that the UK first thought of to the dismay of many for it delays urgent action instead of saving lives. So, it was a no-go.

Don’t let age dictate your fate, build a stronger immune system and you would fare better against viral infections.

We say, more than this, the herd immunity is something like a “survival of the fittest” and it’s only applicable if the populace has no elderly or people with compromised immune systems where deaths would almost be nonexistent.

But here’s something to think about before you become nonchalant, even if you survive a COVID-19 infection, your lung function may no longer be 100 percent. So, be wary.

Lockdown

This method controls people’s movement within a restricted area. And it’s essentially good for governments that are unprepared and for those that lacks the medical capability and resources.

However, there are three important factors that lockdowns or community quarantines need in order to succeed.

One. Speed. Borders should be shut as soon as there are reports of neighboring countries or areas’ first infections. Mind you, infections are easier in countries or places that has a large, “unbroken” land area compared to locales divided by water. Thus, travel should be banned in and out of the lockdown region as in flight bans and closing of ports and borders. More so, all measures that contribute to spreading should be taken with tracing suspected carriers, social distancing, hygiene and lifestyle changes as the priorities. After all, prevention is better than cure.

While China took control, indecisiveness and complacency would make many lockdowns too little, too late.

Two. Communication. Any organized effort would struggle without open and fast communication. This is from information campaigns to tracing suspected carriers to reporting cases to carrying out orders. With all these running about, the public should remain calm and not panic. Politicians should make sure basic services are still out there – at the same time, enforce price controls and ensure goods are delivered by uninfected people. Meanwhile, businesses should not allow hoarding by anyone even by politicians, celebrities or personal friends.

Three. Discipline. This is probably the most difficult to have if you never had it in the first place. Desperate times require desperate measures, hence, the local administration should maintain control with no favors, prejudice or complacency while the public should truly cooperate. Any unruly or rogue behavior could trigger the start of a mega-infection. Thence, sustained effort is key and violators should be penalized.

It is important to note that Italy may have failed in these factors and so, they are having a hard time controlling COVID-19.

Aggressive Testing

While the world is looking up to South Korea as the model in this fight against COVID-19, aggressive testing would not really work for every nation. Why?

One. Supplies. You need to have enough testing kits, so, aggressive testing is not ideal especially for poor countries. And if your country has self-serving politicians or business leaders, they would have themselves and their families tested first even when they do not really have symptoms. Who knows, they may even have reserve testing kits put away for future use – just in case. Besides, if we have to buy (or pay for) one, can ordinary people afford it?

Two. Quarantine Facilities. If you test a lot, where would you put those infected? Placing them in an island for treatment is ideal until they get well, else, they should be housed in a single, faraway facility. This is especially helpful to contain the spread, moreover, so health workers could properly attend to them while replenishment of supplies would not be staggered. This would be like, all roads lead to “quarantine island.”

Didn’t China even build a dedicated hospital in 10 days for COVID-19 patients?

South Korea’s phone booth testing: Protecting health workers without losing testing efficiency.

Still, more than testing kits, what made South Korea’s aggressive testing seemingly successful is their use of “satellite technology” to track COVID-19 and the “phone booth” testing to minimize infecting health workers themselves as well as for easier disinfection.

Now, if all you have are “testing kits” – no satellite technology, phone booths or drive-thrus – then use aggressive testing on people within the 5-mile radius of the epicenter, no later than 2 days from the outbreak to succeed.

In the end, the best approach to contain COVID-19 relies heavily on speed – that is decisiveness.

Coronavirus: Solving Initial Issues on Community Quarantine

As expected and in any undertaking, there would always be issues especially for something that the world has never seen before.

And in the case of Metro Manila’s community quarantine, among the problems that came out were traffic congestion, defective thermal scanners, no face masks, and social distancing issues among others.

How to Address these Issues
  • Traffic. The problem with this issue is that it has been a concern even before COVID-19 surfaced on this planet. So, if it was not solved back then, it would either be harder to solve now that there’s a threat like the coronavirus – or with “sustained effort” on the part of the police and travelers, this 5-hour endurance (WARNING: Traffic would definitely contribute to spreading the virus) by commuters and motorists would be cut into half or even a tenth of the time. For that to happen, consider the following: (a) Provincial buses should only ply up to Metro Manila borders. (b) Companies apply a 6-hour daily work schedule. To maximize productivity, companies should focus on results not work hours. (c) The whole Metro Manila should apply an every 30-minute bus and jeepney schedule at designated bus stops. (d) Companies in the whole metropolis should work on and agree on a sequenced 6-hour work schedule. Like, companies located in this area are to have an 8-3PM schedule while companies located on that area will have an 8:30-3:30PM sked and companies near checkpoints should open office from 9-4PM and so on. This way, the roads would not congest with employees going off work at the same time. (e) If an employee lives within 5 kilometers from his office, do not ride but just walk. If he lives farther, get off the bus at least 300 meters before his office. This way, these employees not only give drivers a chance to pick up other passengers but they keep fit.
  • Social Distancing. It would be hard to apply this on buses and jeepneys especially since drivers would naturally want more passengers while the latter are rushing to work. However, this only needs cooperation and discipline to make social distancing successful. (a) Employees should not leave their homes at the 11th hour. (b) All buses and jeepneys should have a “conductor.” These conductors would make sure that proper spacing is done in public transportations by stopping the passengers from riding when the bus or jeepney is already fully and properly spaced out. Violators should be penalized.
  • Defective Thermal Scanners. First, these products should be tested before being officially used. Second, if they were functioning before they got damaged, then it’s just about handling – be gentle. Third, checkpoints should have a charging area for thermal scanners that are low batt. You could even convert a “car battery” into a charger that every checkpoint should have.
  • No Face Mask. While n95 are the ideal mask, it’s only for medical workers as even disposable surgical masks (which is commonly used by the world) are out of supply. Then again, haven’t you heard that old bras could even be used as a face mask? Okay, using such could be embarrassing for the police – then use an improvised face mask made of cloth or something. The difference between a medical mask and an improvised face mask lies in its filtering properties. Being made of cloth, respiratory particles that were caught by it could still be there; thus, increase your protection by adding a perforation of 3 plies of tissue between your nose-mouth area and mask. Just change your tissue every hour or so since you are heavily exposed to people.
Having and following designated bus stops with a “15-second un/loading time” could improve traffic.

The battle against COVID-19 is very winnable. All it takes is sustained effort – and discipline.

Coronavirus: What could make a Lockdown or Community Quarantine fail

With the continued rise of coronavirus infections globally and a COVID-19 vaccine still nowhere in sight, governments just have to do what they can to contain its spread…

Either through lockdowns or “aggressive” testing. But for this article, we are to focus on lockdowns or Metro Manila’s community quarantine.

As we know, lockdowns control people’s movement within a restricted area while quarantine is simply the separation or restriction of people who might have been exposed to a contagious disease to determine if they are infected – just like what you see when you travel nowadays.

In both cases, it’s either imposed in the whole country or just a certain locality.

For coronavirus or in anything, success is a matter of sustained effort.

So with that, what could actually make a lockdown or community quarantine fail?

  1. Sustainable Effort. Many times, hopefully not in this case, governments just could not sustain the work. Let’s face it, it’s just tedious. Imagine you have to check temperatures of hundreds or thousands of motorists or people on designated checkpoints and areas for, say, 30 days. At first, the energy and even enthusiasm is naturally there but after a week or so, things could become relaxed.
  2. Corruption. And when those on the job gets kind of tired or complacent, these guys could become open to bribery or something. Like, if a symptomatic person or businessman is worried of missing out on a big deal, he could try to bribe those at the “control point” to let him slide and just get treated or quarantined right after his deal. This could happen, like, in all entry or exit points whether land, sea or air travel. No land, air and sea travel means “no land, air and sea travel” whether you are a passenger – or a shipping or airline company.
  3. Questionable Quarantine Areas. Choice of designated quarantine sites is crucial, else, you could still spread the virus. It should not be in residential or commercial areas or where foot traffic is high. It should be as isolated as possible. And if possible, those infected should be in a designated island for treatment. This is not discriminating the sick but controlling the chances of spreading COVID-19 until they get well, so life still goes on for the healthy.
  4. Lack of Health Workers. COVID-19 is a pandemic and we are still human regardless if one is a medical professional or not. This situation could overwhelm these health workers emotionally, mentally and physically. So, what are the chances that a health worker could underperform? Say, a hundred patients and only two nurses, a medical technologist and a doctor. See?
  5. Lack of Medical Supplies. Or other necessary supplies, medicine and equipments as well. After all, even the United States has issues with their testing kits. Thus, testing supplies among others should be adequate, distributed equally and replenished in a timely manner regardless if the hospital is renown or not, but depending on their need. Government and the health industry should act in unison – with one objective – to eliminate COVID-19. Pharmaceutical companies (and any entity who could gain in any way) should not take advantage of the situation.
  6. Improperly trained Disinfecting Personnel. In its simplest form, just think of this as painting a house. Paint equally with the right formula and do not overpaint one area unless you need to highlight it or so. In this case, be methodical and do not overdo or undercut your spraying or disinfecting methods. Leave no stone unturned with priority on the most vulnerable areas and places regardless of who frequents the building or locale.
  7. Lack of Discipline. Social distancing should truly be observed, wherever. Large gatherings should be cancelled. Same goes with panic-buying. More than crowd containment, hoarding rules should be strictly implemented between customers and the store regardless if the customer is rich or a celebrity. Such people would just create an imbalance in supplies as they leave little for others. More so, panic-buying only overwhelms the store where others could slip unnoticed and open up to unsuspected viral infection. Another case would be for youngsters just being carefree and unknowingly become a carrier of the virus. So is an employee trying to get to office or continue working even if he suddenly feels sick. See, those residing outside the restricted area are more dangerous than those inside the quarantine zone as they could become carriers of the virus to another locality. Thus, they should really be monitored.
Disinfecting priorities should be followed and not done based on social standing.

In all, while we can expect the coronavirus cases to increase in lockdown or quarantine areas (for being some kind of an epicenter), so long as the above factors are addressed – containment is going to be successful.

Coronavirus: Self-Care and Determining Vulnerability

Next to coronavirus, the most popular word nowadays is quarantine. And while every traveler undergoes quarantine, some malls in this part of the world has started to do temperature checks to its customers.

This is certainly good – and it should, in fact, be done in all malls, schools, churches, and terminals around the world. That’s the very least establishments and organized groups could do as a precautionary measure if lock downs or cancellation of activities are not yet done.

Still, while we already know who are the most vulnerable in our society…

  • Those 60 years old and above.
  • Those with existing or even previous health issues like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
  • Those under medication.
  • Those with compromised immune systems.
  • Those with hypertension.
  • Those with unhealthy lifestyles including smokers, idle (no physical activity) – or even those who regularly sleep under 7 hours or more than 9 hours as these are imbalances which makes idleness (or overworking for some) even worse.
  • Those with unhealthy diets as this builds up and weakens one’s body.

The above factors actually makes just about everyone vulnerable; of course, except for those disciplined, else, lucky souls.

Coronavirus has become a wake up call for that lifestyle change to protect oneself, if not, recover faster from illnesses.

See, anyone can get infected – regardless of age or health as even a Juventus soccer player and a Utah Jazz basketball player got infected. Think about this, if athletes can get infected, how much more those who are idle?

Okay, while the young and those healthy are likely to recover better compared to the elderly, that doesn’t mean they are 100 percent sure to survive. Anything within them (and outside of them) can still happen.

After all, of all people, it’s not the rich and powerful nor the medical practitioners or even the youth that has the strongest immune systems – but it’s the athletes or those who are active and lives healthy. Notice that even those with high cholesterol (with a number suffering heart problems or even strokes) are getting younger and younger?

Start living healthy.

Take note that while testing kits are available (or at least we know they exist), testing is all it does. Testing kits does not protect you from infections or disease. It’s only an “early” warning to help you recover from infection. It’s only a reminder for you to be responsible. To self-quarantine and to make lifestyle changes.

And do not be stuck on that debate between flu and COVID-19. While “experts” say they are different, they are actually more similar than different as both attacks the respiratory area. So do not panic but just be responsible. Yes, obviously, COVID-19 kills people and that is what makes it different from flu.

Old bras for face mask: In times of emergency, creativity and boldness are key.

Remember, panic only weakens your immune system.

We are all in this together
  • As an ordinary person, focus on strengthening your immune system and not being a carrier.
  • As an entrepreneur, focus on making medicine, food and supplies available and at stable prices especially to the vulnerable and the poor. Do not allow hoarding.
  • As for business people outside the supply chain, focus on stabilizing employment and providing jobs to displaced workers. By giving everyone an opportunity, you will realize that traditional qualifications has nothing to do with one’s ability to thrive under pressure – a problem solver at the highest level – and that’s a rare gem.
  • As a medical professional, focus on helping the infected recover while protecting yourself from infection.
  • As a scientist, focus on developing the vaccine. Lock downs and quarantines can only do so much, the world needs the vaccine for assurance.
  • As a politician, focus on containing the virus by locking down your area before it becomes uncontrollable. For populated areas, let 10 – or even less – cases of coronavirus infections (check your population per sqm) be the trigger for a lock down. Community spread is lurking. Waiting or indecisiveness costs lives.
  • As for the media or even for social media, do not scare people but be truthful and responsible in reporting or posting.

Be positive and keep strong, we are smarter than any virus.

Traveling in the Age of Coronavirus

COVID-19. It’s just all over the dailies and the internet. For more than a month now, the new coronavirus has been filling the headlines…

But let not these scare you. These news are only to inform you to keep you healthy and to help contain the virus, so do not panic.

Yet that does not mean you be complacent and irresponsible.

We are aware that bats and certain animals could be carriers of viruses, thus, one, try to avoid eating exotic foods and stop the trafficking of wild animals. And two, make sure that traditional sources of animal meat you prepare for food are not sick, are clean and properly cooked.

Remember, viruses enter humans through the T-zone. Eyes. Nose. Mouth. And if your immune system is weak or you have unhealthy habits like smoking or you are unhygienic, you then become more susceptible to viruses that could cause more than just colds.

Thus, wherever you may be – traveling or not – always be mindful.

COVID-19 Basics

The problem with this new coronavirus though is that symptoms only appear after 5 days or later, thus, it could spread even before one realizes that he is infected with such. However, since vaccines and medications are still being developed, the best strategy at this time is in supportive care – like, taking in fluids and proper ventilation. In short, treat it as how you would when you have a flu as similar symptoms like coughing and fever are present.

Temperature check: First line of COVID-19 detection when traveling.
COVID-19 Prevention
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, if not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands – and if you are a health care worker, use protective equipment.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with tissue – then throw the tissue to the trash can.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid nonessential travel and traveling to outbreak areas.
  • Stay away from crowds. If unavoidable, wear a face mask.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people or be at least 2 meters away from a person showing viral symptoms.
  • Stay home and isolate when you are sick.
  • If you need to go to the hospital, call to know the procedure first so as not to overburden healthcare professionals and increase infection; then wear a face mask once you proceed.
  • A chest CT scan shows to be good in quick screening those with fever, a possible infection of the COVID-19 virus.
Face masks – unless you’re in a crowd – are rather recommended for those already with symptoms.
COVID-19 Travel Tips
  • Be aware of travel advisories and COVID-19 updates.
  • Avoid crowded places especially if it’s in an enclosed structure.
  • Travel in a private jet if you could, else, take the window seats instead of the aisles of a commercial plane if possible.
  • Avoid traveling via cruise ships.
  • Keep distance from people with symptoms. Respiratory particles from coughing or sneezing could travel about 1 meter, thus, be at least 2 meters away from the person.
  • Practice proper hygiene especially washing your hands whenever you eat, after using the toilet or holding frequently held objects and surfaces.
Death rates are actually low with COVID-19 with the elderly, else, those with compromised immune systems as the more vulnerable group.

Vacations can wait. Just make sure of the air you breathe first.

Happy and safe travels!