Analysing the methodologies used against COVID-19 suppression vs Mitigation vs Herd Immunity

[08-04-2020 04:57 AM]

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - By Sameh Al-Hindawi - 2020 has already witnessed a devastating series of events and COVID-19 being the most recent and the most catastrophic. Governments have found themselves placed between a rock and a hard place; trying to minimize the dire consequences of the virus while not affecting the economic growth. COVID-19 is certainly changing the world as we know it, the virus is spreading throughout the globe causing economic damages. The impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented due to its global outbreak and high number of fatalities, forcing industries to shut down until further notice. Countries are taking different measures to face the virus such as: Suppression, mitigation and the herd immunity strategy, but the question is here which one of those measures is the most effective?

In order to reduce the outbreak of such pandemic, several Asian countries took the initiative to implement the suppression method. Suppression is used to limit the rapid outbreak of the virus, due to the fact that the virus could easily spread and numbers could exponentially rise overnight. Suppression includes the continuous testing of everyone with or without symptoms, continuous testing will result in isolating the infected individuals. Isolating infected individuals is the core element in suppression, by isolation, the number of infected people is being controlled, allowing the healthcare sector to serve infected individuals and regular patients with minimal losses. Moreover, lockdowns are also a key element to suppression. Enforcing lockdowns will stretch out the number of infected individuals on a longer period of time, which will overall decrease the number of infected people and will allow the healthcare sector to serve infected individuals on a longer period of time. The idea of suppression is to limit the spread of the virus which results in a more effective way in identifying the infected individuals. Asian countries that implemented suppression, witnessed a significant in numbers and were able to contain and limit the spread of the virus. As seen in China, quarantine, isolation and social distancing have proved that suppression is a very beneficial method. However, suppression could lead companies to face partial, complete shutdown or business continuity issues due to the long periods of lockdowns which will consequently affect the economic growth.

Mitigation is a more lenient methodology used to face the virus. Mitigation is similar to suppression, however, it serves the economic aspect better. Essentially, mitigation is used to slow down the spread of the virus alongside implementing a pervasive testing. Imposing curfews for citizens to limit their movement, allowing specific industries and sectors to operate in order to protect the economic growth and enforcing quarantines only to certain areas that are categorized as hotspots. However, most countries already faced a spread of the virus before any mitigation measures were taken. As a matter of fact, China started off with executing mitigation measures and then realized that suppression would be a better option to avoid draining the healthcare sector due to the large number of infected individuals. Several developed countries attempted to mitigate the situation , however, as witnessed by the entire world the healthcare sector in those countries was overwhelmed and the number of fatalities is still rising till this moment.

Lastly, the herd immunity as we witnessed in the United Kingdom and in Netherlands is another method used to face the virus. Basically, this method allows the virus to spread and infect the majority of the population and if the infected individuals survive then they become immune to it. As a result, the immunity system might be able to overcome the virus naturally and the virus will fizzle away. However, individuals with weak immunity systems or chronic diseases might suffer due to the respiratory damages caused by the virus and end up losing their lives. This strategy will overwhelm the healthcare sector significantly and might cause more fatalities that will indirectly affect regular patients trying to benefit from the healthcare services. The outcome of this strategy could be that the majority of the population becomes resistant to the virus and it naturally becomes as common as a normal flu. Thus, “the herd is immune”. This strategy also focuses on the longevity of the economic growth, businesses will continue to operate normally. Nonetheless, this method is perceived to be inhumane as individuals with weak immunity systems or chronic diseases will be the victims.

One of the groundbreaking stories is a country in the heart of the Middle East; Jordan that is handling the situation efficiently. Since day 1, suppression was implemented with the full collaboration between the government and the citizens with the vision and the guidance given by the Royal Family of Jordan. Jordan has been able to contain the infected individuals and keep it to a minimum. With flights cancelled, quarantine implemented, and a government dedicated and determined to maintain the welfare of its citizens by supplying each and every Jordanian with food and medicine to their footsteps, Jordan has maintained the lowest number of cases compared to its neighboring countries. Also, the public sector contributed by distributing salaries in advance, private companies donated to the Ministry of Health in order to face the Pandemic with full force. Around, 60 flights landed on the Jordanian ground within the first 24 hours of recording the first case, Jordan was able to welcome around 5000 passengers and to isolate them in 5 star hotels in the Dead Sea, Aqaba and Amman for 14 days. While the military and thee Jordanian armed forces contributed by dedicating their transportation facilities from the airport to the hotels for the passengers. The Jordanian government facilitated food for the isolated individuals for 14 days for free. The Ministry of Education created an online platform to continue teaching school and university students normally.

Local banks postponed the outstanding payments for further notice. With the vision, support and guidance of the Royal Family of Jordan, Jordan has undoubtedly proven itself to be a role model in dealing with such a global and health pandemic according to sources from the United States. His Majesty King Abdullah has evidently and unquestionably stated it “the safety of Jordanians is a priority”.

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