Senior Japanese Government Adviser Says Coronavirus Can't Be Stopped

Posted on February 25, 2020

Japan is shifting strategies in its battle against the Covid-19 coronavirus and admitting it cannot stop the spread of the virus. The virus is proving difficult to contain completely so they are focusing more on caring for those hit hardest by the virus - the most serious cases - and slowing down the virus's spread.

A story in The Washington Post quotes Shigeru Omi, a senior Japanese government adviser, as saying, "We shouldn't have illusions. We can't stop this, but we can try to reduce the speed of expansion and reduce mortality."

The virus spreads so quickly - and sickens a large enough percentage - that there are not enough hospital beds to take care of the sickest people. Hospitals and staff quickly become overwhelmed. The seriously sick people are also staying on ventilators for extremely long periods. A Bloomberg story says, "Critical care resources in central China are being strained by coronavirus patients needing a month or more on mechanical ventilators." Tens of thousands of people requiring mechanical ventilators will overwhelm hospitals even in countries with modern healthcare systems.

A strategy of slowing down the spread can give the government time to find additional buildings to house patients in need of mechanical ventilators. This is why China has been building so many new hospitals in the past couple months. The downside is even slowing down the spread of this coronavirus appears to require drastic measures like shutting down public transportation, public events, group meetings etc., which are the types of things that keep a society running.


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Image: IVDC, China CDC via GISAID