Washing hands is one way to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The coronavirus numbers can be confusing at times. I review them daily for several countries and states. The latest figures I have today come from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/. I find it to be a consistent site for coronavirus numbers.

California, according to reports today from the above source, has 11,307 cases, of which 369 are new, and a total of 246 deaths. Contrast that to New York which has 102,863 total cases, of which 2935 are new, and a total of 9810 deaths. Why such a difference in infections and deaths? Why is South Korea more effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus compared to the United States? Good questions to ponder.

I wish I could give the specifics as to which actions worked and which ones didn’t. California has tested 150,000 people for COVID-19 as of a couple of days ago. This week California advised the public to wear face coverings to reduce the spread of passing on an airborne disease. Masks and social distancing are better than not doing either.

Testing was done in South Korea earlier than the United States. They were able to identify quickly those infected and minimize their exposure to others. Each week seems to bring us news of newer, shorter tests that will be available. However, passing the test on Monday doesn’t guarantee that you will still pass the test three days later. It’s not one test and you are done. There will be some level of testing. It might be required daily for some healthcare workers.

I notice that most places I’ve been in the past week (Post Office today) that there are lines on the ground to indicate a ‘safe distance’. In recent shopping stops, I have been fortunate to not hear anyone sneeze. However, sneezing is not one of the primary coronavirus symptoms.

Most states have shut down schools, whereas Singapore and a couple of other countries have not shut down their economy or education systems compared to the United States. I believe that the quick decision to shut down the Rodeo in Houston (I volunteer for it every year) was a good decision in retrospect. Word came out recently that our Offshore Technology Conference has also been canceled.

California came out early shutting down parks, playgrounds, tennis courts, pools, and similar social gathering areas. This might be a reason for preventing the rapid spread of coronavirus. California also shut down residential and commercial construction. I see that Austin, Texas shut down all construction for a few days and just rescinded their order – all construction is open again. Can construction activities spread the virus? I think not, but it’s not the actual construction activities, but the contact the construction workers have with others en route to and from home to work.

We have the technology in place to teach students from their homes. A decision was made early to shut down schools. Again, I applaud that effort to reduce the contact from person to person from a group of young people who could carry the virus and not show any symptoms. Singapore kept its schools open with no increase in infection rates.

Texas and other states have implemented requirements for visitors from certain states to self-quarantine upon reaching their destinations in Texas. There are no checkpoints set up today, but that can be implemented quickly. I heard from a close friend of mine that she was temporarily stopped transiting the border of Florida. They were identifying drivers from states at risk.

Singapore has blocked all short-term travelers and quarantining those staying longer. Those travelers staying longer must provide their location daily to local authorities. Some countries have increased fines on those violating local quarantine restrictions. A month ago, Taiwan fined a man $10,000 for violating a travel restriction. This past week, another violator was fined $33,000.

Several Southeastern Asian countries have the virus under control and are taking stricter measures to ensure that it remains under control. China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan have barred foreigners from entering altogether. South Korea will quarantine you for 14 days upon arrival. Japan has barred all visitors from Europe and is increasing the list to a total of 49 countries, including the United States.

I look at the new cases reported each day for several select countries to get a feel for the increase, plateau, or decrease in daily new cases. Several countries seem to be on a plateau with both new cases and daily deaths. Social isolation, earlier detection and quarantining, potential effective vaccines (not all vaccines are 100% effective), and severe penalties for violators might decrease the total time that people are under voluntary house arrest. Is California proactive enough to maintain a leadership role in controlling coronavirus? We should know in less than a month.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin

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