A Global Force to Handle COVID-19 with Flu Control Protocols is Required4
HSVG misson P.O. Box 206, Hagatna, GU 96932, USA
(April 14, 2021)Together Guam and Taiwan can make a difference in world healthTaiwanese are suffering from the Hualien train accident. Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero mentioned in her kind letter to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen that Taiwan has relentlessly supported Guam’s COVID-19 response. Beyond sharing best practices, Taiwan’s utmost generosity and kindness during the global pandemic were also emphasized in the letter. A hearing for Resolution No. 53-36, which would provide legislative endorsement of Taiwan's bid for observer status at the World Health Organization’s 2021 annual assembly, highlighted the assistance that Taiwan provided throughout the pandemic. This included the procurement of 200,000 masks among other medical supplies, and help chartering flights to provide Guam residents off-island care during the health crisis. It also draws attention to education provided by Taiwanese physicians prior to the pandemic.The pandemic is obviously not over yet. After receiving lots of help from off-island, Guam is actually able to offer assistance back in the continuing fight against COVID-19 around the world. For example, Guam’s pretty nice vaccine rollout experience.When the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine arrived on December 14 last year, Guam had 25 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Two months later, although only 9.5% of Guam’s population has been fully vaccinated, the hospitalizations dropped to 5 and the island was moving to PCOR3, which allowed most businesses and activities to operate at moderate restrictions.After a considerable percentage of at-risk people got vaccinated, Guam decided to lower the vaccine age to 16 years old on March 22. At that time, the COVID-19 hospitalization has dropped again to only 1 patient at the hospital.Thus, combining Taiwan’s successful response before COVID-19 vaccines became available and Guam’s experience of COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, Guam and Taiwan could create a very comprehensive protocol helping many countries that are still being trapped in this public health crisis, for example, Philippines, Japan, Korea and many others in different regions.In addition to the pandemic, COVID-19 also reveals the importance of prevention and control of diabetes, heart disease and lung problems because these underlying health conditions increase people’s risk for severe COVID-19 illness and death. Learning from Taiwan’s experience in community health, Guam can not only improve its prevalence of diabetes and heart disease but also show its neighbors and the world a healthy life-changing model that would be extremely important in the post-pandemic era.The best platform to make all of these happen is the World Health Organization (WHO). Unfortunately, WHO has refused to grant Taiwan an observer status, which Taiwan used to own, at its annual assembly since 2017. Government of Guam can work together with the US Federal Government to support Taiwan to resume the observer status at the May 24 to June 1 World Health Assembly this year. It is absolutely a right thing to do.In our region, Guam should urge WHO’s Western Pacific Regional Office in the Philippines to immediately amend its improper approach that refused to contact or interact with Taiwan. As a result, Taiwan was unable to obtain information about the pandemic and related data issued by the office, and also unable to participate in meetings organized by the office. Many countries in the region therefore lost their opportunity to closely learn relevant public health practices from Taiwan. That is obviously a huge mistake the office really has to fix and Guam can urge them to do it right away. http://www.hsvg.org/hot_388518.html Together Guam and Taiwan can make a difference in world health 2021-04-14 2022-04-14
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(March 16, 2020)

A Global Force to Handle COVID-19 with Flu Control Protocols is Required

As COVID-19 is becoming a global issue, most people seem too nervous to notice that the virus is actually showing its flu-like epidemic pattern while more countries reported more cases around the world. Based on the pattern observed, the epidemic could be ended if an international organization steps forward to coordinate a global force to thoroughly implement flu control protocols in most of countries as soon as possible.


In the end of January, Germany’s first two cases contracted the virus from a colleague who flew in from Shanghai to join the company’s workshop, and then another two colleagues who did not contact the Chinese visitor were tested positive as well soon. This cluster has preliminarily showed the human-to-human transmission of the virus could be very easy, and very similar to what the flu virus does. At the same time, those German patients’ very mild flu-like illness was noticed.

Singapore and Japan offered significant evidence of a larger scale in February. As of February 29, Singapore reported 93 cases, including five clusters and quite a number of patients whose source of infection is not known. It was showing that the spread of the virus could easily happen in the community, exactly like what the flu virus can do. And, just like those German cases, patients in Singapore were fighting with flu-like symptoms only, no severe cases reported.

Excluding the cruise line’s cases, Japan had found more than 250 cases in different cities and prefectures in February. Most of infected people had flu-like symptoms only and six elderly patients died from pneumonia. So, in Japan, the virus was also showing a flu-like epidemic, which usually brings senior people a higher risk of severity and fatality.

In addition, A BMJ, originally called British Medical Journal, article published on February 18 offers evidence from comparison of case fatality rate (CFR), which is the ratio of deaths from a certain disease to the total number of people diagnosed with this disease for a certain period of time representing a measure of disease severity. SARS had a CFR of around 10%. MERS killed 34%. COVID-19’s overall CFR was around 2%. A collaboration of Hong Kong University and Harvard University also estimated the CFR of COVID-19 is around 1.4%.

Therefore, the COVID-19 virus turns out to be mostly causing flu-like illness only. It does not seem to be a SARS-like or MERS-like super killing bug of the new decade. The scaring death toll number in China could be the result of a medical system collapse caused by too many patients rushing into hospitals, which is the scenario we usually saw during a flu pandemic. So, countries with increasing death tolls, such as Italy and Iran, need international aids.

Although The CFR number of COVID-19 mentioned above is lower than SARS’s and MERS’s, most experts agree the CFR of a seasonal flu is around 0.1% only. Therefore, we still have to take the virus seriously, most importantly, with a right strategy.

Based on its flu-like epidemic pattern, the goal of a global response to COVID-19 should change from containment to mitigation, for example, helping the elderly and people with underlying health conditions to avoid death tragedies. Don't waste resources on finding asymptomatic infections. Make sure that medical institutions are ready for a huge amount of patients. Remind Healthy people to wash hands more often and sick people to stay home. Besides these, Taiwan’s recent experience shows that wearing a mask is an effective extra precaution.

Excluding three small clusters with the index case contracting the virus in January, Taiwan did not report any new domestic case after January 31 until a local woman was tested positive on February 28. Besides washing hands, it is worth to notice that the majority of Taiwanese have been promptly wearing a mask since the epidemic started scaring people in the beginning of January, even though many experts claimed that wearing a mask is not necessary at that time. Although the shortage of surgical masks had caused chaos, the chaotic situation is believed to become a reminder of having most Taiwanese practice good personal hygiene all the time, which is the main preventive measure before we have vaccines and new drugs.

The researches on the virus take time and epidemic control can’t wait. It is necessary to find clues through the epidemiological analysis on the reported cases to help form the proper response strategy. The best solution for now is to follow flu control measures strictly, including public education of good personal hygiene, home or institutional quarantine on sick people, and a flu surveillance network that asks clinics and hospitals to report patients with flu-like symptoms for further virus testing and early advanced treatment, plus a few extra precautions, such as wearing a mask and maintaining healthy immune defense, to carry everybody through. The world's leading countries should drive a force to push flu control protocols and call for all countries to move forward in the same direction for a sooner ending of the epidemic.