How Italy, South Korea and Germany Fighting Against Coronavirus
Italy Affected HeavilyItaly has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 10,000 confirmed deaths were recorded in Italy. 92,472 people were infected so far leading to a relatively high death rate of 9.5%. Overwhelmed hospital staffers have had to make devastating decisions about who will receive intensive care.
A new study by the University Of Oxford tried to explain the reason why Italy is suffering so badly from coronavirus pandemic. Researchers said that "the country has the second oldest population on earth. Its young tend to spend more time with the elderly, like their grandparents."
Such demographic will be critical when trying to contain the spread of coronavirus. This shows how the virus is transmitted within families and communities. 23% of the Italian population is over age 65 compared to the US where that population is 16%.
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Experts say that "extended longevity has played some role in changing the population structure Italy and other countries, but they suggest that the rapid decline in fertility rates was the main factor affecting the population. Young Italians might live with their parents and grandparents in rural areas but commute to work in cities like Milan."
The study's authors argue that this frequent travel between cities and family homes may have exacerbated the silent spread of the coronavirus during the first phase. Young people working and socializing in urban areas interact with large crowds where they may pick up the disease and take it home and transmit it to their grandparents.
Milan is the main city in the worst-hit region of Lombardy where 68% of the total national fatalities have been reported. If they have no symptoms they will have no clue that they are infecting their elders. Mortality rates are higher in older individuals, but an aging population does not necessarily mean more infections.
South Korea Controlled Infection's Growth RateSouth Korea's coronavirus infection rate is falling. On Monday, South Korea had 9,583 COVID-19 cases. Daily infections fell for the fourth consecutive day. Officials attribute the decrease to 3 main factors:
Mass testing, improved public communication and the use of advanced technology. South Korea is one of the worst-affected countries outside of China. 61 people died in South Korea so far, 500 new daily infections were recorded for the past two weeks. But, last Friday, this number dipped to 438, then 368 on Saturday and 248 on Sunday.
Officials said that while the total number of new confirmed cases is decreasing there are concerns over such mass infection cases. Authorities completed the extensive testing of members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, which was linked to more than 60% of the country's cases.
South Korean officials said that citywide lockdowns as imposed by China in Wuhan are difficult to enforce in an open society. China also introduced strict social distancing and extensive monitoring of citizens. South Korea is promoting volunteer public participation with creative applications of advanced technology.
South Korea has been providing media briefings twice per day and emergency alerts sent by mobile phone. Details about the travel histories of confirmed patients are also available on municipal websites. But, information about a patient's residence or employer makes them identifiable individually leading to concerns about privacy.
Authorities deployed about 50 drive-through testing stations across the country. COVID-19 tests are free in South Korea. Free tests have enabled the identification of patients early.
Germany Lowers The Death RateGermany's coronavirus death rate is extremely lower than in other countries. Its current mortality rate is just 0.6%, while Italy's mortality rate is 9%. There are more than 58,247 cases of coronavirus in Germany with 281 confirmed deaths so far.
In comparison, more than 10,023 people have died in Italy and more than 6,528 in Spain. One theory suggests that it may be due to the disease spreading amongst younger germans. The average age of Germans who have tested positive is 47 years old. In Italy, the average age of people suffering from COVID-19 is 63.
Experts believe that Germany's major outbreaks streamed from carnival celebrations and young people returning from ski trips in Italy and Austria. Elderly citizens are also less likely to live with younger members of the family. In southern Europe, more young adults live with their parents or grandparents.
Germany had conducted between 3,00,000 and 5,00,000 tests in the last week. This is an extremely high number of coronavirus tests and it means that experts were aware of more cases. But, access to the tests is still limited in many places.
The German health minister said that the country is still in " the calm before the storm" of the epidemic. Germany is using the time it has won with the extensive testing to prepare for a wave of cases expected in the coming weeks.
Thee health minister said that they also used the time to double the country's intensive care capacity. Germany has one of the most robust public health systems in the world spending$5,182 per capita on healthcare compared to $3,377 in the UK. But, there are concerns that the German health system may still not able to deal with an outbreak the size of Italy's.
German health authorities asked people to wear " simple breathing masks" to help contain the outbreak as protective masks are urgently needed by doctors and nurses or people with previous illnesses.
Spain: One Of Most Affected Country In The World
Spain plans to extend its state of emergency for another 15 days. The health ministry said on Monday that in just the past 24 hours, the total number of confirmed fatalities rose above 2,182 adding 462 fatalities overnight. The number of cases recorded in Spain rose to 33,089 up from 28,572 cases on Sunday. Spain witnessed a drastic Spike of 5,000 new cases on Saturday. Spain is among the most affected countries in the world.
Spanish authorities announced that they are locally producing masks ventilators and test kits. The government has bought 6,40,000 additional reliable fast tests, It will distribute 1.3 million masks to health personnel and patients. Emergency hospitals have been set up across the country. Residents have been ordered to stay indoors. Streets that used to be busy are now deserted.
The Prime Minister's vice-president was admitted to the hospital for treatment for a respiratory infection. Two cabinet ministers and the prime minister's wife have tested positive for the coronavirus. Almost a third of the country's cases have been recorded in Madrid.
A huge field hospital was set up inside the capital's main conference center. The hospital took in its first patient over the weekend. It could accommodate up to 5,500 people.
The Spanish prime minister has called on the EU to instigate a "Marshal Plan" to counter the economic effects on the crisis. The Marshal Plan was a U.S. program providing aid to Western Europe following the devastation of World War 2.
Spain has been in lockdown since 14 March. People are allowed out only to buy food or medicine or to seek medical help or travel to and from work. But a health official said that the country might reach a stable phase soon.