Currently, there is significant improvement in New York and other states as we enter phase 4 reopening. In particular, Texas during early May reported a steady increase of new cases after reopening of businesses at approximately 25% of original capacity. This phenomenon also appeared in other states. So, by mid of May, Texas set a new daily record of new cases and deaths from COVID-19. Recently, as we move near end of June, the picture remains same. Florida on other hand began opening around May 4th and reported increase in cases. Today, all 36 states report rise of new cases. Amid this rise, Florida is standing out as major concern or next big epicenter for virus. The data is revealing and increasing tension among individuals. Now increase in cases is among younger persons.
Number of infected younger people is in upward trend. These individuals are getting the virus because of community settings, and not from outbreak setting. Therefore, it bit harder to identify, isolate, and trace individuals with COVID-19. Why? As a general idea, it is believed that many younger individuals violated guidelines, and, attended home parties, a get-together in community settings. In short! This might be just the wake-up call for everyone.
As whole globe shifts to increased transmission by individuals below age of 35, there is another wave created by Super-spreaders. Wait What? According to public health officials, some individuals can transmit virus effective as compared to others. These particular individuals are named as ‘super-spreaders’. They are people who avoid wearing masks and don’t practice social distancing. The transfer happens becoming personalized droplets that remain airborne from somewhere 8 minutes to 3 hours depending on enclosed space.
80/20 Pareto Principle
Let’s see if we can quantify increasing sentiment of transmission of COVID-19. To do this, use Pareto Principle. According to Pareto principle 80% of all consequence comes from 20% of possible causes. Using same principle for COVID-19 would mean that 80% of new transmissions are caused be less than 20% of carrier. So, either majority of individuals would get affected or none. There have been reports of somewhat similar incidents from different places across the globe.
Six Key Areas For Concrete Action
- Data-Driven Health Care System: First one first, leveraging accelerating advancement in data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence could bridge gaps. Also, it will help in building new bridges and continue to ensure deployment of new information. New Geospatial Information System (GIS) could create maps to overlay data, economic impact, development strategies, and tactics. By using machine learning algorithms, delivering care could be optimized. It would also aid quick identification and respond to outbreaks. Today, more or less every public health infrastructure is built to manage tuberculosis and measles, not COVID.
- Surveillance Testing: Presently, COVID-19 is difficult to track because of its long incubation period. Although aggressive lock-down is extremely effective way, it could go unfruitful when ignored by individuals following traditional medical systems for example homeless and migrants. One thing is clear that almost all public health institutes have one structural problem to more. Many have limited access to testing, while others need simply more space.
- Powerful Mobile Applications: Today, technology is bringing forward many tools that are helping in managing COVID-19. On one hand, applications are helping in identifying proximity of exposure. On other hand, some applications have been developed as immunity passports. This general idea is to use application for show-up your COVID-19 test results while traveling.
- Modeling: Many would agree to this – “COVID-19 is here to stay”. So, to minimize harm to both public and economy, it is essential to minimize it via vaccine or transmission. In other words, it is important to improve ability to trace real-time percentage of infected people. Next, forecasting its impact, determining critical parameters, understanding its rapid growth, and deploying risk-based shielding strategies.
- New Institutes: Proper assessment of COVID-19 is facing massive gaps. Today, our ability to share collect and share data is falling. Only a small number of not-for- profits groups regularly go to official website of public health and hospitals. When it comes to processing, often there is a gap in state or national level. So, we need a new approach to bring together all these assets and brightest minds.
- New Public Health Vision: Lastly, given widespread COVID-19 it is somewhat essential to re-look government bureaucracy. Additionally, healthcare delivery systems including testing enterprises must prepare to work independently. It is time to take this pandemic as an opportunity to form new forms of public healthcare systems.
As we become more capable of addressing COVID-19 situation, it is essential to leap forward. Leveraging new approach that includes both introspection and humility could help clear ‘fog of war’. We need to rethink coordination and align efforts of practitioners, caseworkers, and researchers, and policymakers to form local level of sustenance.