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Let the Coronavirus disruption begin: planes held in London and prof warns “this is virus he fears most”

Posted By Jo Nova On February 15, 2020 @ 1:21 pm In Health,Microbiology | Comments Disabled

Partial post hoc reactive quarantine holds seven planes at London airport– seriously?

Madness. Eight planes have been held up for hours in London airports as they land with people with coughs and colds and try to check suspected cases. By the time people are symptomatic, its too late. Temperature checks may catch the most contagious people but now one person with a unrelated common cold can also cause a major and unnecessary disruption while other infective people can freely fly in and walk straight through.

Asymptomatic people can potentially infect 2 to 3 random people (or 10) who may then also infect 2 – 3 random people each before the Epidemiology SWAT Team realizes and starts testing and tracking. We play an impossible game of catch up in a race to isolate all possible contacts.

HOURS of misery in coronavirus lockdown at Heathrow:

DailyMail UK

Passengers endured hours of misery at Heathrow Airport this morning when up to eight planes were put on lockdown over coronavirus fears after passengers on board complained of symptoms of the deadly virus.

MailOnline understands a British Airways flight from Kuala Lumpur was held up on the tarmac for two hours when it landed at 6.45am after cabin crew grew concerned a Malaysian family ‘of around eight’ might have the contagious infection, now named SARS-CoV-2.

One passenger on the plane said that health workers in protective gowns and face masks came on board the BA34 flight and set up a screen around the family before evacuating everyone off the plane row by row.

The first confirmed case in London was only Wednesday. The phase transition from low-risk to hours-of-disruption is quick, eh? Last week this was “low risk” now the shops of chinatown are empty. A strict quarantine is the only thing that can save businesses like this.

The West has a choice here: Build hospitals or holiday cabins

We could start building emergency hospital ICU rooms like China has, or we could start building quarantine cabins which are infinitely cheaper and ask all entrants from countries with uncontrolled cases of Covid 19* (or SARS CoV 2, whatever it is called) to go through a two week quarantine. This will limit traffic drastically, affecting weddings, conferences, holidays and all kinds of business. It will be costly and inconvenient, but it will possibly save people and quite a lot of money. (ICU care is $5000 a day). Separated families can still be reunited after the two week delay. Am I mad, stopping all flights to nations at risk seems like the cheap conservative option?

Our hospital system is designed to cope with the annual flu load, even if this only doubles it, it will be onerous, hard choices are coming. If 10% of cases need major hospital help (as we see in the cases in Hong Kong and Singapore) the system will be overwhelmed.

I repeat, now that we know this is very infectious the best case scenario is that the virus causes thousands of undetected low grade infections, and that for some reason it is not as severe in the West (genes, pollution, medical care, lower population density, summer, past infection immunity, etc). Perhaps it blows over and we can look back and say “hyped”. We’ll know a lot more in a few weeks time. Are three weeks worth of weddings and conferences really worth the risk?

The disruption of closing borders is nothing compared to the disruption of post hoc late quarantine. Once the virus gains a foothold schools will have to close, businesses and factories will shut. People will need to stay home.

On the Diamond Princess — when will we get those people off that boat and put them in proper quarantine — one where they are not breathing the same presumably unfiltered air? Perhaps these cross infections are due to food handling, the walks to the deck or some other route. Where is this being discussed?

UPDATE:

This is the virus I fear the most’: British scientist

By Danyal Hussain and Ryan Fahey For Mailonline

Professor Neil Ferguson, of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, revealed that ‘this is the one I’m scared of’ when asked about the killer coronavirus, which is causing increasing alarm all over the country.

However, he insisted he was not predicting 400,000 deaths, but was warning that the figure ‘is possible’. He said he would rather and adding that he’d ‘prefer to be accused of overreacting than under reacting’.

Research indicates that 60 per cent of Britons could be affected by the virus, formally known as COVID-19.

 Which is more scary, a half a degree temperature rise in 50 years or a flu that kills 1% in coming months?

Latest tally: John Hopkins CSSE  and Worldometer

h/t Bill in Oz

*Sadly, we probably need to include countries with no cases but inadequate testing. This will increase pressure for nations to control their cases — a big added incentive to manage their health (perhaps with as much help as we can give).

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