What can I do about COVID-19?
My name is Gordon Doig and I am an epidemiologist who has worked in critical care for more than 20 years. I live in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Like you, I have tried to keep up to date on the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) that started in Wuhan, China. Because I don't see a lot of truly useful information coming from the mainstream media, I have been going directly to credible sources like the World Health Organisation. The purpose of this page is to describe in plain language what the WHO recommends and to provide links to WHO content so you can understand exactly what they are saying.
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COVID-19 and our economy
Forced business closures and stay at home lockdown have been very successful at reducing the spread of COVID-19. However, forced business closures have had a huge impact on our economy.
In 2007, researchers from the NIH, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Harvard published a landmark paper on the 1918 influenza pandemic.
They studied 17 US cities to learn how each city used public health campaigns to fight the 1918 flu outbreak.
The good news is, each city was very successful at reducing deaths from the 1918 flu.
This landmark study from 2007 clearly showed that public health campaigns based on multiple interventions can reduce the spread of a disease like COVID-19.
In 1918, most cities kept their public health campaign running for 2 to 8 weeks, then stopped everything all at once.
Because forced business closures have had a huge impact on the economy, most states are considering re-opening most businesses soon. But if this change results in a major second wave of deaths, businesses may be forced to close again.
To prevent a second wave of deaths, when businesses are re-opened it becomes even more important to make sure all other public health interventions remain in place.
On 14 April the WHO released a COVID-19 Strategy Update here. On 24 April, the WHO released atechnical guidance document here. They provide guidance as to when and how restrictions should be lifted using a phased or stage process. Please read the complete documents.
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Page last modified on Friday 1 May 2020.