Pandemic experts place “least weight” on recovery statistics

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VICTORIA – Scientists following the growth of pandemics say some figures from public health officials say more about the spread of the new coronavirus than others.

Daniel Coombs says that the number of people admitted to hospitals tells him where COVID-19 is located in a community, a province or across the country.

The math professor at the University of British Columbia’s Institute of Applied Mathematics said these numbers best indicate the daily status of COVID-19.

The number of new positive tests and reports on the number of people recovered is fewer, said Coombs, who has also conducted research into overdose prevention efforts during the ongoing illicit opioid overdose epidemic in Colombia -British.

“Of all the statistics released, I would probably put the least weight on the recovery rate,” he said in a recent interview. “This is good information. The numbers I’m really paying attention to right now are the number of people hospitalized, the number of people in intensive care units and the number of deaths. “

He said inpatients are a definitive number of patients who have contracted COVID-19, adding that the numbers associated with the tests are not as firm as there are more variables involved.

Professor Junling Ma of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Victoria said that providing the recovery rate figures would likely be seen by the public as comforting, but scientists are examining different data.

Ma, who studies the spread of infectious diseases in populations, said that the daily reports of new cases provided information, but that it was dated.

“The numbers right now are not entirely related to the new cases today,” said Ma, adding that the daily case updates came from people infected two weeks ago.

Overall, Canada has 17,064 cases of COVID-19 reported on Tuesday, of which 3,813 have been listed as resolved. There have been 345 deaths.

Ma and Coombs said that the number of people listed as COVID-19 is not as useful as some other numbers, because not everyone is tested. But hospitalization data provide real numbers, they said.

In recent days, those receiving hospital care in British Columbia has not increased, indicating that the province’s self-isolation and physical separation measures could slow the spread of COVID-19, said Mr. Coombs.

“What we are afraid of is seeing exponential growth in everything related to the disease in the province,” he said. “I think hospitalization and the number of intensive care is very important information and can be overlooked by everyone by focusing on the number of new cases. “

British Columbia provincial health worker Dr. Bonnie Henry blamed good fortune and lessons learned from other provinces for the first restrictive measures that appear to have helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

BEFORE CHRIST. She learned from Quebec and Ontario, where the spring break started two weeks earlier and where travelers have brought the disease unknowingly.

“Much of the work we did in the beginning,” added Henry. “Part of that was the system we had in place to detect cases in our communities, part of the luck, and I believe part of the time. “

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 7, 2020.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

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