In the U.S., infections from the Wuhan coronavirus spiked over 5,000 and the death toll reached 100. This disease is highly contagious. It’s serious, but it’s more deadly towards the elderly and the immunocompromised. That’s not to say healthy young people can get it. They can. They can get wrecked by it, but the chance of them dying from it isn’t nearly as high as those who are over the age of 60. While someone infected with the flu usually spreads it to one other person on average, someone with the Wuhan coronavirus could give it to two-to-three others. That’s why social distancing is key. It’s why young people, some of whom might contract the disease but are asymptomatic, should stay away. It’s about keeping your parents and grandparents safe.
That being said, how is it that Taiwan, which is right next to China, which has a lot of travel to China, could have less than 100 reported cases. You’d think a massive outbreak would occur and it was projected to happen. Not the case. What did they do? Sanford Health Policy noted three things that helped this island nation in preventing a Wuhan coronavirus outbreak: big data, transparency, and a single epidemic control unit. At the time this was published, the Wuhan coronavirus had only infected 42 people in Taiwan, a country of 23 million people. That was March 3. At that time, only 107 people had been reported infected in the U.S., with six deaths:
So what steps did Taiwan take to protect its people? And could those steps be replicated here at home?
Stanford Health Policy’s Jason Wang, MD, PhD, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford Medicine who also has a PhD in policy analysis, credits his native Taiwan with using new technology and a robust pandemic prevention plan put into place at the 2003 SARS outbreak.
“The Taiwan government established the National Health Command Center (NHCC) after SARS and it’s become part of a disaster management center that focuses on large-outbreak responses and acts as the operational command point for direct communications,” said Wang, a pediatrician and the director of the Center for Policy, Outcomes, and Prevention at Stanford. The NHCC also established the Central Epidemic Command Center, which was activated in early January.
“And Taiwan rapidly produced and implemented a list of at least124 action items in the past five weeks to protect public health,” Wang said. “The policies and actions go beyond border control because they recognized that that wasn’t enough.”
Wang outlines the measures Taiwan took in the last six weeks in an article published… in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The authors note that Taiwan integrated its national health insurance database with its immigration and customs database to begin the creation of big data for analytics. That allowed them case identification by generating real-time alerts during a clinical visit based on travel history and clinical symptoms.
Taipei also used Quick Response (QR) code scanning and online reporting of travel history and health symptoms to classify travelers’ infectious risks based on flight origin and travel history in the last 14 days. People who had not traveled to high-risk areas were sent a health declaration border pass via SMS for faster immigration clearance; those who had traveled to high-risk areas were quarantined at home and tracked through their mobile phones to ensure that they stayed home during the incubation period.
…Taiwan got out ahead of the epidemic by setting up a physical command center to facilitate rapid communications. The command center set the price of masks and used government funds and military personnel to increase mask production. By Jan. 20, the Taiwan CDC announced that it had a stockpile of 44 million surgical masks, 1.9 million N95 masks and 1,100 negative pressure isolation rooms.
Despite what the liberal media may think, the Trump White House has been praised by governors for being available and for coordinating a response to this disease. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said so yesterday. Yet, the liberal media did their job; they trashed the market and took trillions off the books in the hopes of bolstering the Democrats’ chances of winning the upcoming presidential election.
Yet, stepping away from the horrific acts of the liberal media, over 75,000 of those infected have recovered. There are fewer than 200,000 cases worldwide, but brace yourselves, when testing becomes more widespread—the number should spike a bit. For now, just stay inside for a few weeks, work from home, wash your hands, and avoid touching your face. We’re going to be fine if we take these precautions.