National Strategies to Curb Covid-19: An Outsider Inside View

By Charles Leyman Kachitsa

The Corona Virus pandemic has not yet been declared eradicated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since it is still spreading in many parts of the world. The pandemic end will be declared when possibly rates of transmission infection drops significantly and when the infection is seemingly contained. On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic when it was considered it had spread worldwide.

Depending on what health institutions, nations and the world relevant bodies do, the end of the virus could be in the horizon. Individual governments can do their part to curb the virus. No one way to eradicate it is the best and this must be born in mind when reading this article.

According to a post by Ted-Edu, there are about three possible strategies governments or nations could pursue to cub the virus. The three are the following; ‘Race Through It’, ‘Delay and Vaccinate’ and ‘Coordinate & Crush’.

Race Through It

This strategy could be to a degree likened to free market economy system where government does nothing to the state markets and allows whatever happens to determine how things will pan out. In the control or curbing of corona virus using the Race Through It method when the virus is discovered in a nation, its government and community does nothing instead allow as many people as possible to be exposed . In other words this is a deliberate policy to have as many people as possible in the nation be infected by the virus.

As a result of the strategy to leave the virus roam about, the idea is to build natural immunity in the people as they fight off the virus. Unfortunately this could lead to millions of people dying from the virus or collapse of the health system (hospitals) as they become overwhelmed due to providing for larger numbers of infected individuals.

Despite the deaths, many more survive by building their own immune system. Around this point Head immunity kicks in so the virus cannot find any new hosts, it is when the pandemic fizzles off.

This may be a bad strategy because of the pressure it brings into the system. With not enough time as more people catch the virus, hospitals may quickly reach peak unmanageable capacity. This alone may result in the ratio of health personnel to patients increasing drastically added to the fact that they may also catch the virus rendering them incapacitated to perform their work. This could cause a wipe out of a higher percentage of the population not to mention productive groups.

Delay and Vaccinate

A strategy that minimises loss of life as it is activated to delay as much as possible the virus spreading wildly. It is intended to slow the spread of the virus preventing so many people becoming infected. The delay in containing the spread means researchers are given time to find a vaccine.

Tactics to buy time include; imposing lock-downs, introducing widespread testing, quarantine the infected and physical distancing where some people can not be at home for example workers of essential services. Even with these measures engaged, the virus could still spread albeit at a slower pace infecting several thousands of people causing a few thousand deaths.

With such controlled strategic approach, some cities, towns may be able to contain the virus and therefore would go back to normal. However, even with some careful easing of lockdown restrictions there could be a second wave which may necessitate returning to lockdown and more physical distancing. In due course, one or two vaccines become widely available and perhaps freely available at which point a 40% to 90% head immunity kicks in making the virus less dangerous. Our human experience is rich with history of vaccine discovery to conquer pandemics such as that for Small Pox which had freely killed 300 million people before a vaccine was widely administered.

Coordinate and Crush

The difference of this strategy with the one before is that on Coordinate and Crush, efforts are made to make sure all countries throughout the world do things together at the same time in curbing the virus. The idea is to simultaneously starve the virus everywhere through coordinated social distancing, quarantine and travel restrictions. If done properly this could end the pandemic in a few months with low loss of life.

Moving forward is finding ways of eradicating the virus completely. Unless it is completely eradicated, there could be risks of it accelerating to pandemic levels once again. For instance, it could still be carried around by animals such as mice.

Which Strategy is the best out of the three?

With “Race Through it”, this may be a quick fix with huge loss of life. Such global catastrophe may not be a solution if people are still going to be in danger of re-infection. “Coordinate and Crush” may also be an enticing strategy because of its speed in curbing the pandemic. But is only reliable and truly effective if there is efficient global coordination and cooperation.

Of all the three the Delay and Vaccinate is preferred by most nations as an ideal and manageable strategy which minimises loss of life according to Ted-Edu. It is a slow but steady proven workable option as the delay tactics allows discovery of a vaccine, ways of reducing symptomatic attributes and perhaps prolonging life medicines.

What ever a nation choose as a strategy of course depends on its own local circumstance. The whole point is to make sure as has been seen in most parts, the country does not loss a larger part of its population and also not have its health system completely run down.