QUESTION 4. IS QUARANTINE AND DEFENSIVE ISOLATION EFFECTIVE?

A. What is Quarantine?

Quarantine confines people and animals with a contagious disease from the healthy population.  It has been practiced for thousands of years as the first line of defense against contagion.  The effectiveness of quarantine depends on early detection and prompt strict isolation

 South Korea and Japan used fever detection, then testing, and followed by in-house quarantine.  The results were impressive.  Both Japan South Korea had 5 deaths per million population.  As a comparison, the US has 232 deaths per million. 

In order to work in a mobile society, quarantining requires:

  • early detection and quick testing,
  • with no holes allowing the infected to leave and mix with the uninfected.

The United States now has the largest, fastest, and most distributed viral testing capabilities in the world.

B. What is Defensive Isolation?

Defensive Isolation  is where the healthy are kept isolated from the sick, which is the polar opposite of quarantine.   Fundamentally, it is based on the animal instinct to “hide” from predators.  But, there is no evidence that hiding works against viruses.   And there is no significant evidence that it actually works in a mobile society.  This is especially true with a virus that is highly contagious, as is the case with COVID-19.

The reasoning behind the defensive isolation that we are currently practicing is from anecdotal experiences.  During the 1918 Spanish Flu, St Louis had stringent lock down restrictions and had 3000 deaths.  Philadelphia did not implement any actions and had 16,000 deaths. 

A closer analysis revealed significant problems with the comparison.  Philadelphia had a population of 1.8 million and St Louis had 772 thousand, Philadelphia had double the density, and there was a significant discrepancy in normal death rates.  Philadelphia had industrial air and water pollution issues. 

When these factors are taken into account the death rates between the cities were almost identical

St Louis and Indianapolis would be a better comparison with similar demographics.  Indianapolis practiced good hygiene during the Spanish Flu and had 90 deaths indicating that good hygiene was 14 times more effective than either defensive isolation or doing nothing. 

The only effective treatment during the Spanish Flu was “Open-Air Treatment” indicating that containment was less beneficial than fresh air and sunlight.

The reason quarantine works and defensive isolation does not is because defensive isolation has many transmission holes.  Infected police, firemen, food packing, distribution personnel, and all other essential workers inadvertently prevent defensive isolation from working. Remember that 40% of all infected people have no symptoms.

The problem lies in the fact that even non-infected people who are religiously self-quarantining at home (i.e. practicing defensive isolation), do come in contact with the outside world every now and then, particularly in the form of grocery shopping. Even the extra vigilant who use online shopping services are not fully protected.

Consider the meat packing plant in Iowa that had 50% of their employees test positive for the virus. The food that they package is not irradiated to kill the virus.  This illustrates a major problem with defensive isolation. Unless all infected essential personnel are quarantined, even those people who are practicing defensive isolation remain at risk.

C. What does Virus Spreading Data Suggest?

Data on the weekly spread of influenza across the United States show that 61% of the CoVID-19 deaths occurred in the top 6 states having a high influenza presence.  The 13 states with the lowest influenza presence had ten times less CoVID-19 deaths.  The populations in these two groups were the same.

The COVID-19 mortality did not show any abrupt signal in the response to the lock-down or a flattening of the curve.  However, a direct recognizable signal appeared with a drop in the presence of the  influenza virus.  

The data on defensive isolation have not shown any measurable effect on the decline in COVID-19 deaths.  There is more data and graphs in the supporting documentation.

D. What is Flattening the Curve?

Flattening of the curve is a concept that mitigation efforts can change the shape of a contagion curve from an  up and down peak to a smooth rounded flat curve. No actual data has been found that proves this position.  

The mortality curves for Italy, Spain, UK, and the United States show that the mortality curves are all peaked.  None of them show any flattening or rounded shape .

Curves based on mathematical models or isolated anecdotal cases are not a reliable substitute for actual data.  Infections or case numbers are based on testing and do not reflect the actual numbers.  Those numbers could be off by 700 to 8500 percent. 

Table 4 in the supplemental documents indicates that comparing 2018 US Influenza, Italy, Spain, and UK COVID19 death rates shows that the US COVID19 may have been overstated after April 21, 2020.  This means the death rates numbers should be considered suspect until a full investigation is made.

E. What Personal Protective Measures Can Individuals Do?

There are many things that individuals can do to protect themselves from the CoVID-19 virus.  The top protections are:

  • Temperature Detection.   Studies showed that 98.6% of those infected with the COVID-19 virus had a fever.  Detecting a fever is the single most important personal criteria to guard against catching COVID-19.  It is incredibly simply to implement both by individuals at home and by businesses.  Cell phone manufactures should enter into a competition as to who could market a cell phone with the best temperature sensor.  An App on the grandson’s phone might suggest he should stay away from grandma for a while or wear protective masks/gloves to avoid a potential transfer. 
  • Hand washing and alcohol wipes cut the morality rate by 10%.
  • Hand shaking has been shown to transfer bacteria in 7 out of 7 times.
  • Copper surfaces, particularly door handles in public places reduces microbes.  Copper kills viruses and bacteria on contact.  Tests on hospital bed railings showed a reduction of 97 percent in microbial count by switching to copper.  Cell phone manufacturers should look into impregnating or electroplating a thin copper skin into the outside body to impart antiviral protection.
  • Gloves are effective when the virus is likely to be present. 
  • Masks are effective when they are medical grade and are in a hospital setting.   There have been studies showing that medically approved masks reduced infections in a non-hospital setting.  There are no significant studies of the benefits of non-medical approved masks.   But, non medical masks or facial coverings worn by those infected may yield a benefit to others.  

ANSWER TO QUESTION 4. [Quorvita]

Quarantine is an effective method to deter contagion.  The Japanese and South Korean model of detecting people with a fever, testing, and then in-home quarantine had great results.  Mobile devices could likely provide an accurate fever detection method.  With the United States leading the world in testing, it would be an exceptionally easy and economic fit for handling all future pandemics.

Defensive Isolation is not supported by any significant studies.  Observations suggest that defensive isolation associated with COVID-19 did not show any measurable benefits.  “Open Air Treatment” was the only successful treatment method during the Spanish Flu.  This indicates that restricting outdoor activities may not be beneficial. 

There is no meaningful data that support a flattening of the curve analysis in a mobile society absent an effective vaccine or treatment drugs.   Table 4 raises a significant question as to the accuracy in the US death rates after April 21, 2020.

The greatest personal protection against catching any viral disease is exceedingly easy.  98.6% of all COVID-19 patients had a fever.  Therefore stay away from people who have a fever.  All this requires is a thermometer that measures internal temperatures.  If enough people write to Apple or Android and request an application be incorporated into everyone’s cell phones then taking internal temperatures would be much simpler.