How Iceland Beat the Coronavirus
June 2, 2020 at 1:09 PM - Views: 10 #321952eridaniParticipant
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One thing thy didn’t mention was that it is a big help to have a low population.
Anyone who’d spent more than fifteen minutes near the man in the days before he’d experienced his first symptoms was considered potentially infected. (“Near” was defined as within a radius of two metres, or just over six feet.) The team came up with a list of fifty-six names. By midnight, all fifty-six contacts had been located and ordered to quarantine themselves for fourteen days.
The first case was followed by three more cases, then by six, and then by an onslaught. By mid-March, confirmed COVID cases in Iceland were increasing at a rate of sixty, seventy, even a hundred a day. As a proportion of the country’s population, this was far faster than the rate at which cases in the United States were growing. The number of people the tracing team was tracking down, meanwhile, was rising even more quickly. An infected person might have been near five other people, or fifty-six, or more. One young woman was so active before she tested positive—going to classes, rehearsing a play, attending choir practice—that her contacts numbered close to two hundred. All were sent into quarantine.
The tracing team, too, kept growing, until it had fifty-two members. They worked in shifts out of conference rooms in a Reykjavík hotel that had closed for lack of tourists. To find people who had been exposed, team members scanned airplane manifests and security-camera footage. They tried to pinpoint who was sitting next to whom on buses and in lecture halls. One man who fell ill had recently attended a concert. The only person he remembered having had contact with while there was his wife. But the tracing team did some sleuthing and found that after the concert there had been a reception.
“In this gathering, people were hugging, and eating from the same trays,” Pálmason told me. “So the decision was made—all of them go into quarantine.” If you were returning to Iceland from overseas, you also got a call: put yourself in quarantine. At the same time, the country was aggressively testing for the virus—on a per-capita basis, at the highest rate in the world.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
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