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PT.JSHannes Alpha Global
25.03.2020, 02:58:43

Learn Something from The Covid-19 Outbreak

I decide to write this article, a specific topic, as an analysis of what's going on recently link to the massive, massive panic, caused by the media reporting and/or citizen journalism which is not entirely careful and i can say it shallow in their perspective about the facts and always try to become the first who shares the information yet artificial and almost amateur in context. 

It is interesting the fact that while we should be concerned and diligent, the situation has dramatically elevated to a mob-like fear spreading faster than COVID-19 itself.  Interestingly, about one in ten people went as far to admit they believe they have coronavirus right now. And amazingly, younger adults seem to be more worried . Now, estimate about a quarter of the world population believe they are currently infected with COVID-19 (mathematically impossible), full-on panic is blocking the ability to think clearly yet determine how to deploy the resources to stop this virus. Over three-fourths of the population are scared of what we are doing to our society through law and hysteria, not of infection or spreading COVID-19 to those most vulnerable.

A critical question to ask when we take a look at a data set in the first time is, “What is our metric for success?”.

How is it possible that more than a quarter of the world population believe they will catch COVID-19?  Here’s how.  It was started with the vanity metrics — a single data point with no context. Remember the viral picture of the graphic Covid-19 progress on spreading?  The John Hopkins COVID-19 tracking map. Which was showing the fast growing cases and death around the world. What started as a data transparency effort has now molded into an unintentional tool for hysteria and panic.

An important question to ask, is what do these bubbles actually mean? Each bubble represents the total number of COVID-19 cases per country. The situation looks serious, yet we know that this virus is over four months old, so how many of these cases are active?  See the point now?. Prompted us to remember some of our high school teacher taught us about time or periodic compare to event per minutes or per day or month or year etc, etc. 

Almost immediately, we now see that just under half of those terrifying red bubbles are actionable. The total number of cases isn’t illustrative of what we should do now. This is a single vanity data point with no context; it isn’t a knowledge. To know how to respond, we need more numbers to tell a story and to paint the full picture. As in business, the daily revenue of a business never tell you the whole profitability or capital structure, or overhead. The data isn’t actionable. We need to look at ratios and percentages to tell us what to do next — conversion rate, growth rate, and severity or else.

Hint : time lapsing new cases gives us perspective.  Breaking down each country by the date of the first infection helps us track the growth and impact of the virus. We can see how total cases are growing against a consistent time scale.  

Every country has a different population size which skews aggregate and cumulative case comparisons. By controlling for population, you can properly weigh the number of cases in the context of the local population size. Viruses don’t acknowledge our human borders. The US or Indonesia population is 5.5X greater than Italy, 6X larger than South Korea, and 25% the size of China. Comparing the US total number of cases in absolute terms is rather silly.

Rank ordering based on the total number of cases shows that the US on a per-capita basis is significantly lower than the top six nations by case volume. On a 1 million citizen per-capita basis, the US moves to above mid-pack of all countries and rising, with similar case volume as Singapore (385 cases), Cyprus (75 cases), and United Kingdom(3,983 cases). This is data as of March 20th, 2020. On a per capita basis, we shouldn't be panicking. 

Please remember too, total cases even on a per-capita basis will always be a losing metric. The total population is more or less fixed. We aren’t having babies at the pace of viral growth. Per-capita won’t explain how fast the virus is moving and if it is truly “exponential”.  Then this panic matter is all about madness? We may choose different word to describe it.

Growth rates are tricky to track over time. Smaller numbers are easy to move than larger numbers.  This holds true of daily confirmed case increases. Daily growth rates declined over time across all countries regardless of particular policy solutions, such as shutting the borders or social distancing. Covid-19 is spreading, but probably not accelerating. 

WHO is optimizing virality and healthcare utilization, while ignoring the economic shock to our system. The organization assume you are going to get infected, eventually, and it won’t be that bad. It is important to note that “Flattening the curve”’s focus is a shock to the healthcare system which can increase fatalities due to capacity constraints. In the long-term, it isn’t infection prevention. Unfortunately, “flattening the curve” doesn’t include other downsides and costs of execution.

The WHO released a study on how China responded to COVID-19.  The results of their research show that COVID-19 doesn’t spread as easily as we first thought or the media had us believe (remember people abandoned their dogs out of fear of getting infected). According to their report if you come in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 you have a 1–5% chance of catching it as well. The variability is large because the infection is based on the type of contact and how long.

The majority of viral infections come from prolonged exposures in confined spaces with other infected individuals. Person-to-person and surface contact is by far the most common cause. From the WHO report, “When a cluster of several infected people occurred in China, it was most often (78–85%) caused by an infection within the family by droplets and other carriers of infection in close contact with an infected person.

An author of a working paper from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University said, “The current scientific consensus is that most transmission via respiratory secretions happens in the form of large respiratory droplets … rather than small aerosols. Droplets, fortunately, are heavy enough that they don’t travel very far and instead fall from the air after traveling only a few feet.”

The media was put into a frenzy when the above authors released their study on COVID-19’s ability to survive in the air. The study did find the virus could survive in the air for a couple of hours; however, this study was designed as academic exercise rather than a real-world test. This study put COVID-19 into a spray bottle to “mist” it into the air. Can somebody explain to me if they know anyone who coughs in mist form?.,  and it is unclear if the viral load was large enough to infect another individual .  “Corona doesn’t have wings” everyone. 

To summarize, China, Singapore, and South Korea’s containment efforts worked because community-based and airborne transmission aren’t common. The most common form of transmission is person-to-person or surface-based.

Another facts: COVID-19’s ability to live for a long period of time is limited on most surfaces and it is quite easy to kill with typical household cleaners, just like the normal flu.

  • COVID-19 be detected on copper after 4 hours and 24 hours on cardboard.

  • COVID-19 survived best on plastic and stainless steel, remaining viable for up to 72 hours

  • COVID-19 is very vulnerable to UV light and heat.

Presence doesn’t mean infectious. The viral concentration falls significantly over time. The virus showed a half-life of about 0.8 hours on copper, 3.46 hours on cardboard, 5.6 hours on steel and 6.8 hours on plastic.

According to Dylan Morris, one of the authors, “We do not know how much virus is actually needed to infect a human being with high probability, nor how easily the virus is transferred from the cardboard to one’s hand when touching a package”

According to Dr. Auwaerter, “It’s thought that this virus can survive on surfaces such as hands, hard surfaces, and fabrics. Preliminary data indicates up to 72 hours on hard surfaces like steel and plastic, and up to 12 hours on fabric.”

Due to COVID-19’s sensitivity to UV light and heat (just like the normal influenza virus), it is very likely that it will “burn off” as humidity increases and temperatures rise.

The University of Maryland mapped severe COVID-19 outbreaks with local weather patterns around the world, from the US to China. “The researchers found that all cities experiencing significant outbreaks of COVID-19 have very similar winter climates with an average temperature of 41 to 52 degrees Fahrenheit ~ 5 degrees of Celsius , an average humidity level of 47% to 79% with a narrow east-west distribution along the same 30–50 N” latitude”, said the University of Maryland.

It’s already well established that the young aren’t particularly vulnerable. In fact, there isn’t a single death reported below the age of 10 in the world and most children who test positive don’t show symptoms. As well, infection rates are lower for individuals below the age of 19, which is similar to SARS and MERS (COVID-19’s sister viruses). According to the WHO’s COVID-19 mission in China, only 8.1% of cases were 20-somethings, 1.2% were teens, and 0.9% were 9 or younger. As of the study date February 20th, 78% of the cases reported were ages 30 to 69. The WHO hypothesizes this is for a biological reason and isn’t related to lifestyle or exposure.

While the true viral capacity is unknown at this moment, it is theorized that COVID-19 is more than the seasonal flu but less than other viruses. The average number of people to which a single infected person will transmit the virus, or Ro, range from as low as 1.5 to a high of 3.0. Newer analysis suggests that this viral rate is declining. According to Nobel Laureate and biophysicist Michael Levitt, the infection rate is declining -

More than 90% of people who think they are infected, aren't. The positivity rate varies by country.

  • UK: 7,132 concluded tests, of which 13 positive (0.2% positivity rate).

  • UK: 48,492 tests, of which 1,950 (4.0% positivity rate)

  • Italy: 9,462 tests, of which 470 positive (at least 5.0% positivity rate).

  • Italy: 3,300 tests, of which 99 positive (3.0% positivity rate)

  • Iceland: 3,787 tests, of which 218 positive (5.7% positive rate)

  • France: 762 tests, of which 17 positive, 179 awaiting results (at least 2.2% positivity rate).

  • Austria: 321 tests, of which 2 positive, awaiting results: unknown (at least 0.6% positivity rate).

  • South Korea: 66,652 tests with 1766 positives 25,568 awaiting results (4.3% positivity rate).

  • United States: 445 concluded tests, of which 14 positive (3.1% positivity rate).

University of Oxford’s Our World in Data attempts to track public reporting on individuals tested vs positive cases of COVID-19. For the US, it estimates 14.25% of those tested are positive.

Globally, 80–85% of all cases are mild. These will not require a hospital visit and home-based treatment/ no treatment is effective. Only 1% cases will be severe.  For context, this year’s flu season has led to at least 17 million medical visits and 370,000 hospitalizations (0.1%) out of 30–50 million infections. 

As the US continues to expand testing, the case fatality rate will decline over the next few weeks. There is little doubt that serious and fatal cases of COVID-19 are being properly recorded. What is unclear is the total size of mild cases. Higher fatality rates in China, Iran, and Italy are more likely associated with a sudden shock to the healthcare system unable to address demands and doesn’t accurately reflect viral fatality rates. We have also high rate death in Indonesia ~9%, it may caused by the too low numbers of cases been reported. Indonesia's health ministry then give some clue, that they were forecasting a possibility 700,000 cases out there, not yet identified. 

How the best way to deal with all of these ?

Local governments and politicians are inflicting massive harm and disruption with little evidence to support their draconian edicts. Politicians are competing, not on more evidence or more COVID-19 cures but more caution. As unemployment rises and families feel unbearably burdened already, they feel pressure to “fix” the situation they created with even more radical and “creative” policy solutions. This only creates more problems and an even larger snowball effect. The first place to start is to stop killing the patient and focus on what works.

Start with basic hygiene

The most effective means to reduce spread is basic hygiene. Back to the old days and start to do how to wash our hands properly.  Masks aren’t particularly effective if you touch your eyes with infected hands. Ask businesses and public places to freely distribute disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to the customers and patrons. If you get sick or feel sick, stay home. These are basic rules for preventing illness that doesn’t require trillions of dollars.

More data and support business , encourage the creativity and new way to do things

The best examples of defeating COVID-19 requires lots of data. The swift change in direction should be applauded. Private companies are quickly developing and deploying tests, much more faster than the authority department. The inclusion of private businesses in developing solutions is creative and admirable. Data will calm nerves and allow us to utilize more evidence in our strategy. Once we have proper measurement implemented (the ability to test hundreds every day in a given metro), let’s add even more data into that funnel — reopen public life. I, my self encourage my colleagues in business, let's adapt Technology in computing or even AI, Fog Computing/edge computing, 5G, IoT, or Blockchain and find new approach to deal with the situation, so the business could turn to normal with the new way of working, producing, communication, etc, etc.

We need to open the schools

Closing schools is counterproductive. The economic cost for closing schools in the U.S. only for four weeks could cost between $10 and $47 billion dollars (0.1–0.3% of GDP) and lead to a reduction of 6% to 19% in key health care personnel.

Considering to open up the public spaces

With such little evidence of prolific community spread and our guiding healthcare institutions reporting the same results, shuttering the local economy is a distraction and arbitrary with limited accretive gain outside of greatly annoying millions and bankrupting hundreds of businesses. The data is overwhelming at this point that community-based spread and airborne transmission is not a threat. Evidence from South Korea and Singapore shows that it is completely possible and preferred to continue on with life while making accommodations that are data-driven, such as social distancing and regular temperature checks.

What People fear is how the government will handle this, not an infection

Honestly, rampant hoarding and a volatile stock market aren’t being driven by COVID-19.  Rather hoarding behavior strongly demonstrates an irrational hysteria, from purchasing infective household masks to buying shaver or it's foam in the troves. This fear is being driven by government action, fearing what the government will do next.  By presenting a consistent and clear plan that is targeted and specific to those who need the most help will reduce the volatility and hysteria. 

Expand medical capacity

COVID-19 is a significant medical threat that needs to be tackled, both finding a cure and limiting spread. 

The COVID-19 hysteria is pushing aside our logic.  Data is data. Facts are facts. We should be focused on resolving COVID-19 with continued testing, measuring, and be vigilant about protecting those with underlying conditions and the elderly from exposure. 

J. Sofyan Markarma 

(Managing Director PT.JSHAG)  

~Twitter @JohannesSofyan , 

LinkedInd Sofyan Markarma  

last 25.03.2020, 11:59:59

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