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Crunching the coronavirus curve is better than flattening it, as New Zealand is showing | The Guardian Opinion |

As Sars-CoV-2 has spread across the world, some countries have reacted with alarm and thorough preparations, given their previous experiences with Mers or Sars. In these countries, such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam, containment of the novel coronavirus became the imperative, regardless of cost.

In a significant number of confirmed Covid cases, the health outcomes are severe, the disease can result in multiple organ failure and long-term lung damage, and the clinical need of patients for oxygen, ICU care and ventilators is much higher. Early clinical management of symptoms, to which Boris Johnson had access, means that outcomes are generally better, but that requires testing at an early stage of the disease.

New Zealand is in the enviable position of having fewer than 20 deaths, while Australia has managed to stay under 100. With early physical distancing measures and border control, and aggressive testing, tracing and isolating procedures in place, these countries are in a better position to ease lockdown earlier and get their economy and society going again.

It is worth thinking through the long-term scenarios for the future of Covid-19.

The first scenario: if we have an effective, safe and available vaccine or antiviral in the next 18 months, the countries that minimised loss of life with the least harsh economic restrictions will be in the best position. Australia, New Zealand and numerous east Asian countries have the outbreak under control and can in the short term manage the trickle of cases while waiting for the scientific solution.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2020 at 03:25:36 PM EST

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