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(April 13, 2020)

Don’t Have Everybody “Stay Home” Too Long

European Commission announced a concept of short-time work on April 1 as an initiative of helping people keep their jobs and go back to full work as soon as the lockdown will be over. We welcome this initiative and would like share our evidence-based analysis reminding that healthy adults should be allowed to resume their daily lives as soon as possible to have a fully-operated system efficiently tackle the pandemic.


New data in the U.S. showed 17 million Americans filed for unemployment in the past four weeks. The spike in new jobless claims is believed to result from the pandemic control lockdowns that have kept Americans from their workplaces and forced many companies to shutter or to lay off employees. We all know that unemployment could not only affect people’s finance but also ruin their ability of taking care of their health.

In addition, the “stay-home” order in some states within the U.S. has also affected certain senior care operations, for example, free meal delivery to the seniors got delayed or rerouted, while the elderly is actually a group of people who need extra care most during the pandemic. It is better that healthy adults are allowed to resume their routines soon to help the community get back to normal early.

According to a report published by Italy National Health Institute on March 17, 96.3% of fatal victims in Italy were patients over 60 years old. 99.2% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people with at least one chronic medical condition, such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Based on the demographic, we suggest the system should have the vulnerable stay home and, more importantly, offer them extra care. Young and middle-aged adults without serous health conditions should keep their routines to maintain the community’s full operations and, in addition, to help many households avoid the miserable economic consequences of workplace shutdown.

Only when the system is fully-operated, we are able to take good care of the vulnerable and to end the pandemic. It is worth to notice that Hong Kong and Taiwan seem to have contained the spread pretty well and Japan and South Korea have been seeing a good trend of calming down the epidemic. All countries mentioned above did not place a nationwide lockdown or “stay-home” order at all.

Germany has not shut down daily life either. Only food and entertainment outlets have been closed since the end of March. Germany has been conducting intensive testing and strictly quarantined sick people and their contacts. It has also got the medical system ready for a pandemic. Therefore, as of April 12, Germany has 127,459 confirmed case and 2,996 deaths recorded. Its case fatality rate (CFR) is 2.35% and this figure is considerably lower than fellow EU members Spain (10%), France (10.8%) and Italy (12.7%). More impressively, Germany has started taking care of patients flown from Italy and France.

What Germany is doing is actually flu control protocols. Although COVID-19 is not flu, the coronavirus appears to be showing its highly contagious nature and “flu-like pandemic pattern” after so many countries around the world reported cases. Thoroughly follow “modern” flu control protocols is therefore the most relevant and sustainable measure for most countries.

What does “modern” flu control protocols mean? The protocols should include a surveillance network that asks clinics and hospitals to report patients with flu-like symptoms for further virus testing and early advanced treatments. Furthermore, It adjusts resource allocation to help medical community get ready for a huge amount of patients to save the vulnerable, and reminds healthy people to practice good hygiene all the time as well as implements home or institutional quarantine on sick people and their contacts to flatten the epidemic curve.

Lockdown was probably working well during the 1918 flu pandemic, but not now. Lockdown probably helped China, but it does not fit all countries. We are looking forward to seeing European Commission helps its member countries ease their lockdowns as soon as possible. We are also hoping the EU shows the world a good leadership and helps countries in other regions copy with the pandemic together in the near future.