Precaution: Lessons from COVID-19

Which is more important in the initial phase of a pandemic: taking precautionary actions or responding to its severity? That is the question that researchers from SUTD set out to address in an article published in BioEssays.

Newswise — Which is more important in the initial phase of a pandemic: taking precautionary actions or responding to its severity? That is the question that researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) set out to address in an article published in BioEssays.

The authors explored and reported the various strategies taken by the United States of America, European group of nations (comprising nations in the European Union, the Schengen area and the United Kingdom), People's Republic of China, Japan and South Korea. By looking at how the number of new cases changed with the adoption or relaxing of strategies, the data collated suggest that the following three strategies should have been considered for implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic: (1) controlled movement by implementing some form of coordinated social distancing, stay-at-home order or extreme lockdown; (2) early and sustained implementation of containment through internal and external border controls; and (3) efficient and early testing to identify symptomatic and asymptomatic transmitters.

These are not new strategies, but were learnt from previous pandemics. However, at a time when these strategies should have been implemented in some form as a precaution to contain COVID-19 in the early days, many countries chose to "wait".

The article explained how a collective strategy is needed, not just country-wide, but globally. If the effort to contain COVID-19 is not implemented in unison, a community that opens up out of phase to the others might see new infections. The researchers observed that incoherent strategy allows waves in each territory to superposition and form a sustain wave for the virus to ride on as it hops from territory to territory, country to country, continent to continent. In particular, because these known strategies were not adopted early with sustained implementation, the US continues to account for a fifth of the world's total COVID-19 cases and is facing the start of a third wave. Another example cited was the post-summer resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Europe when measures were significantly relaxed.

"As the world moves forward and prepares itself for future pandemics of such scale, the lessons learnt from COVID-19 should be part of every country's pandemic response. When another virus of such protean nature hits us again, we will not be caught off-guard by successive wavelets constructively interfering to give a sustained wave," said Joel Lai, the lead author of the study from SUTD.

"This article identifies the effectiveness of various strategies adopted by the governments of key hotspots for COVID-19. We noticed that the strategies were not new, yet, somehow, they were not implemented as swiftly and with authority as expected. These were effective in the past, proven to be effective to tackle COVID-19 and will continue to be effective for future pandemics," Lai added.

COVID-19 has significantly changed the way of life for everyone. In the initial response to the growing number of cases, governments across the spectrum of affected countries have adopted different strategies in implementing control measures, in a hope to reduce the number of new cases. Despite not having any precedence on the nature of this coronavirus, many of the strategies to tackle infectious diseases like COVID-19 is known. The precautions that we could have taken were not implemented as a precautionary preparation, but as a reaction after COVID-19 became widespread.

"Hindsight is always 20/20, but we do not need to be deep in a crisis only to acknowledge that certain precautionary measures should have been executed earlier. This time, with hindsight, precaution was indeed better than the cure," observed Assistant Professor Kang Hao Cheong, the principal investigator for this study from SUTD. "The successes and failures of COVID-19 management thus far have set a precedent for how countries should approach future outbreaks. These should form lessons for mankind to deal with future pandemics as a precaution, not a reaction."

###

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4156
Newswise: Stimulus Relief Funds Increase Social Distancing to Stop Spread of COVID-19
23-Nov-2020 5:20 PM EST
Stimulus Relief Funds Increase Social Distancing to Stop Spread of COVID-19
University of California San Diego

As case rates of COVID-19 reach new heights across the nation, many states and cities are tightening stay-at-home restrictions to stop the spread. New research suggests that that those suffering from economic hardships are less likely comply with new stay-at-home orders; however these same U.S. residents would be more likely to adhere to the new public health guidelines if their households received stimulus funds.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 1-Dec-2020 9:15 AM EST Released to reporters: 30-Nov-2020 2:30 PM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 1-Dec-2020 9:15 AM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise:Video Embedded covid-19-update-surge-preparedness-vaccine-distribution
VIDEO
Released: 30-Nov-2020 2:20 PM EST
COVID-19 Update: Surge Preparedness, Vaccine Distribution
Cedars-Sinai

With the novel coronavirus spreading across the U.S. at a record pace, Cedars-Sinai has been seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients at its hospitals and through its network of physicians. But the health system's leaders say Cedars-Sinai is prepared.

Released: 30-Nov-2020 1:20 PM EST
Rethink COVID-19 infection control to keep primary schools open this winter, governments urged
BMJ

An urgent rethink of infection control policies to keep COVID-19 infection at bay in schools is needed if primary schools are to be kept open this winter, and the knock-on effects on their families avoided, argue children's infectious disease specialists in a viewpoint, published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Newswise: Hackensack University Medical Center Urologists Continue to Provide State-of-the-Art Care During COVID-19
Released: 30-Nov-2020 12:45 PM EST
Hackensack University Medical Center Urologists Continue to Provide State-of-the-Art Care During COVID-19
Hackensack Meridian Health

Don’t Delay Your Care – Our dnhanced pandemic safety precautions prioritize patient health and allow providers to deliver outstanding in-office, telehealth and surgical care

Released: 30-Nov-2020 12:10 PM EST
Struggles of care home staff during COVID-19 first wave revealed in Whatsapp messages
University of Leeds

Analysis of social media messages between care home staff on the coronavirus front line reveal their growing concerns over how to manage in the face of the virus.

Released: 30-Nov-2020 11:30 AM EST
More than one-third of children with COVID-19 show no symptoms: study
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

More than one-third of kids who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic, according to a University of Alberta study that suggests youngsters diagnosed with the disease may represent just a fraction of those infected.

Newswise: Promising lab results in quest to find naturally occurring anti-COVID therapies
24-Nov-2020 5:35 PM EST
Promising lab results in quest to find naturally occurring anti-COVID therapies
University of Alabama Huntsville

So far, 35 of 125 naturally occurring compounds identified computationally at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) to have potential against COVID-19 have shown efficacy in ongoing first-batch testing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (UTHSC RBL) that’s the next step in the process to becoming a drug.

Released: 30-Nov-2020 9:45 AM EST
Rutgers Leading Coronavirus Therapeutic Clinical Trial
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Rutgers is leading a clinical trial assessing the efficacy of a three-drug combination in treating people infected with SARS-CoV-2 and asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.


Showing results

110 of 4156

close
1.61572