Gaining Public Trust for Success against Covid-19

I have been unable to assess what various governments are doing in the United States, so I created some findings about what China is doing to compare results with the United States. Following are the most important conventions for halting infectious diseases.  I hoped to find all of them in my information searches for US activities.

1. Stop people from publicly infecting one-anther. This is the first order of protection. It is accomplished by the entire population practicing social distancing, health officials ordering isolation and physical quarantine. State governments may augment social distancing by rule of law: closing businesses, stopping nonessential activities — theaters, sports events — and closing schools. Immigration and public health authorities may also use isolation and physical quarantine against admitting persons into the country. There are twenty quarantine stations at border points and ports of entry, each having medical officers to oversee persons assigned to them to determine when their release is safe.

2. Test excessively for cases of Covid-19.   The knowledge gained from testing supports assessments of what the population as a whole looks like.  China tested hundreds of thousands, and the US needs to do likewise. The more that all persons are tested, the better is statistical analysis.  Each record needs vital information of the tested person. 

3. Trace backward in time and place to find all persons who had contact with each known infected person:  All those contacted, whether they were an infector or an infectee have to be tested and reported. Medical examination may be necessary.  Public Health employees are appropriate to be assigned this duty. 

4. Build a database of EVERYTHING related to public health activity.  Information is important to every aspect of severing disease connections and postponing surges that overwhelm treatment. One of the most important attributes of China’s success in stopping growth was knowledge contained in a comprehensive data system centrally managed.

5. Disinfect frequently used public places. Places still accessible to the population may become contaminated by infected people touching common objects such as door knobs, hand rails on escalators and stairs, countertops of banks, vending machines, etc.  

6. Publicize information and cautionary reminders. It is important to have favorable public response to directives of health officials.  This is brought about by truthful and frequent updates on what is being done and results thereof.  

On January 18, CDC began collecting data from United States Public Health Service and CDC Labs. The protocols have twice changed but test counts through March 19 appear to be in order at 34,462 completed lab tests. These tests resulted from persons presented to any of the State Public Health services or hospitals, physicians or clinics that took swabs from each person and sent them to one of the eighty-one labs located in the 50 states and DC.  

On March 20, the CDC reported the daily number of Covid-19 cases since reporting began (on January 21, 2020).  These now total of 15,219.  Such cases are reported in three categories: 1) travel-related, 2) close contact, and 3) under investigation.  The third category is falling behind, as if nothing is happening to reduce it.  On March 20, “under investigation” was 95.7% of the total!  Deaths have reached 201.  If the case count (15,219) means confirmed cases, the Crude Fatalities are 1.3%, a respectable value compared to Wuhan City in China.  

My conclusion is this is a meager start to halting Covid-19.  In one particular day China’s epidemiological tracking teams – 1800 teams, each of five member’s minimum – made 27,335 close contacts.  Every close contact was tested yielding an average 2.0% new confirmed cases.  From the paucity of government information made public, the CDC lacks any sort of “big-data” tracking and analytic system, and inadequate resources are devoted to tracing close contacts. 

Wuhan, China has many clusters of neighborhoods where multi-generations of families reside in large apartment complexes.  Social distancing does not apply here, and China recognized it IMMEDIATELY by testing 100% of the occupants.  The rest of Wuhan City has 300 persons per square mile – Wuhan is 3280 square miles. They found between 78% and 85% positive testing for Covid-19.  It seems New York City does not recognize this yet and the Governor is gaining nothing by closing businesses, schools, etc. at a fierce rate.  Manhattan has more than 70,000 persons per square mile. 

I am reminded of December 7, 1941.  An unprepared United States found itself in a mighty war against the two strongest military powers ever in existence.  We had just lost a substantial part of the navy, yet we won, totally victorious against both at the same time.  Put Dr. Fauci in complete charge of all Public Health Services in the nation.  It is unconstitutional, but the hell with it!  Roosevelt asked William S. Knutsen to be in charge of all military production; he agreed if Roosevelt pledged to leave him completely alone. The same pledge would apply today. March 20, 2020