Good news: Mystery cases falling fast in Victoria, staying low in Sydney

Good news: Mystery cases falling fast in Victoria, staying low in Sydney, by Joanne Nova.

Untrackable new cases in Victoria are drying up. The incidence of community spread cases with an unknown source are every epidemiologist’s nightmare. … Known cases can be track-and-traced. Unknown cases mean whole clusters are spreading invisibly and restrictions need to be wider. …

Don’t confuse this graph up for Daily New Cases, which are still coming in this week at 112, 79, 64, 59, 36…. New infections are still popping up, but mostly they are connected to known outbreaks, which are easier to manage (usually). …

NSW:

For the last two months NSW has danced with the tiger and kept daily new mystery source cases under 5. Given that this was in winter, in a big city, this is good news too. This appears to be quite the success with tracking and tracing, and presumably with compliance.

Currently there are a stream of random closures of schools or gyms and restaurants. Sydneysiders can have gatherings of up to 20 people at one time. Funerals, with 100. Weddings with 150 people. Large sporting events are limited to 500. Stadiums are at 25% capacity. The problem is, of course, that NSW is running along a razor thin fence, one superspreader event away from bad news.

The argument is now raging about when to lift the more severe restrictions in Victoria. NSW has demonstrated that track and trace can manage low numbers of cases, so the severe lockdown need not continue to elimination.

If a biotech solution was still two or three years away, a good case could be made for elimination. With elimination, life can go back to normal — as for example here in Western Australia, where there are basically no restrictions within the state (just can’t leave or enter without quarantine) and life is nearly pre-covid. That is worth some extra pain.

But we already have a biotech solution, if only big pharma and the health bureaucracy would use it. There are two main routes for viral entry into our cells — HCQ blocks one, and Bromhexine blocks the other. Either drug on its own is helpful but insufficient, but in combination they work well. With zinc and vitamin D. All cheap and relatively harmless.

Beyond that, it looks like the first vaccines will be here in three months. So it hardly seems worth locking down all the way to elimination.