By: Mary Catherine Ellington
Do you feel that the current measures being taken for COVID-19 are effective and have demonstrated significant improvement within the United States and globally as well? If not, your theories could also be aligning with those of previous studies regarding the coronavirus in Middle Eastern countries. These studies showcase how there may be more efficient preventative measures for current outbreaks of COVID-19 that can be implemented within our society. Researchers from the Korean Society for Preventive Medicine suggest that various techniques that stem from tracing and the timeliness of quarantine are more effective means of combatting this virus, in comparison to quarantine alone. These studies have the potential to have broader implications by reiterating the findings of certain measures and allowing for the basis of future experiments, and more effective measures to take place that can be implemented in our current societal outbreak of COVID-19.
Research from an article titled “A New Measure for Assessing the Public Health Response to a Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Outbreak” demonstrates the need for more effective measures within today’s current outbreak of COVID-19, which focuses on quarantine as the sole preventative measure, that can be adopted from previous findings in relation to the coronavirus in the Middle East, specifically Korea. The following experiments regarding the techniques of prevention were conducted between the months of May through November in Korea within the year of 2015 and published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine and Public Health by Cho Sung. Researchers who were conducting this study were responding to prior research cases in the Republic of Korea which failed to implement time sensitive methods and measures, and henceforth, experienced a surge in multiple generation cases and deaths (Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2015). As a result, researchers within this study began asking the question as to how this virus can be better managed in the future and implemented within public health. Information concluded from these experiments are significant due to the exponential increase of COVID-19 cases that have arose in today’s society, despite the government and medical health officials attempts to intervene, isolate, and prevent the spread of this virus. The data and information collected also raises the question as to whether or not certain measures are ethical or justified in their trials if they do not possess any scientific basis for improving or preventing this virus.
Methods conducted within this study and following experiment include the process of contact monitoring and the implementing of a new technique called “Timely Quarantine Proportion” (TQP). This initial experiment (quantitative process) and response focused on healthcare workers and personnel who were exposed to the coronavirus. It was believed that the spread could have been stopped if the entire room of infected persons remained quarantined together. However, another individual was diagnosed with the virus which led to the virus creating second and third generations. Medical personnel and researchers realized that in order to more effectively combat outbreaks, a method of investigation, contract tracing, effective quarantine and rapid containment, and additional follow ups after fourteen days must be implemented and carried out (Cho 2015). Researchers concluded that the faster contacts exposed or experiencing symptoms were identified, infectivity and case rates would decrease, preventing the occurrence of future cases.
Additionally, a study titled “Healthcare worker exposure to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV): Revision of screening strategies urgently needed” details other screening techniques and strategies that have the potential to improve current worldwide health. This article reinforces the need for effective measures through the use of screening and contact tracing. The research conducted within this article concluded that the importance of widespread testing was prudent no matter how small the exposure or symptoms may seem (Peterson 2018). By implementing the use of tracing and screening as reinforced by this study, one can further form their opinions as to whether the current measures for COVID-19 are enough, and if not, what measures need to be implemented in their place for improvements in global health. Moreover, by reviewing these findings the government and medical health professionals of the United States and other countries as well on both local, state, national, and global levels can more effectively combat today’s version of coronavirus in the form of COVID-19. Individuals will benefit from the findings within this study, by having access to more knowledgeable medical professionals, information, and stipulations that can be implemented in public health.
The methods within these studies appeared to be effective measures for limiting contact with infected persons and hindering the spread of COVID-19 within the medical field and general public. The end of the study by Cho Sung in the Journal of Preventative Medicine and Public Health admitted that the author had no previous conflicts of interests within this study, which reinforced that their deductions and research were free from bias. Flaws within this study included the general basis for their experimental framework, and lack of statistics to prove that this particular framework, while logical, is beneficial long term. However, researchers did admit that “further studies including empirical data analysis are needed to elaborate the characteristics and utility of the TQP” (Cho 2015, para. 10). The basis for the experiment and techniques were relatively simple and could be repeated easily and more effectively today due to new resources, and the accumulation of experimental and outside knowledge regarding screening, quarantine, and current follow-ups.
Therefore, through the collection of data from these experiments testing the effectiveness of quarantine alone, we can conclude that other measures must be implemented in addition to timely proportioned quarantine in the forms of contract tracing, and screening. By adhering to the combination of these methods, individuals have a greater chance of ensuring the health of themselves and their loved ones. Our current society has the potential to take these findings and modernized technology and apply them to our current pandemic with the possibility of eliminating or more effectively preventing the spread of COVID-19 without settling for a single measure. Resources and the relevance of this health issue make future steps more probable and applicable to researchers and medical professionals who wish to stop this global virus and ensure public health. Now as citizens, we must remain aware of new and previous preventative measures and methods that can be implemented and have a greater chance of ensuring our health in the wake of COVID-19. By being aware of the larger implications of this information regarding the proposal for these methods, strict time approach of quarantine, and tracing, we can work to eliminate the ever-increasing cases that one experiences and observes today without having to ponder the effectiveness of other preventative techniques.
Cho S. 2015. A new measure for assessing the public health response to a Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus outbreak. J Prev Med Public Health. [accessed 2020 Aug 18] 48(6):277–279. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/pmc/articles/PMC4676641/?tool=pmcentrez&report=abstract.
Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus outbreak in the Republic of Korea, 2015. Osong Public Health Research Perspectives. [accessed 2020 Sept 9] 6(4):269–278. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/pmc/articles/PMC4588443/#. doi:10.1016/j.phrp.2015.08.006.
Peterson E. 2018. Healthcare worker exposure to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV): Revision of screening strategies urgently needed. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. [accessed 2020 Aug 18] 71:113–116. https://www-sciencedirect-com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/science/article/pii/S1201971218300833?via%3Dihub.
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