Hong Kong epidemic emergency!Whether we can get out of trouble depends on this
1. On February 17, about 5,000 new cases of THE novel coronavirus were confirmed in Hong Kong. The utilization rate of internal medicine inpatient beds in public hospitals has reached 93%, and 30% of hospitals have exceeded 100%.Even when COVID-19 is confirmed, patients may not be able to receive treatment.2. Hong Kong, with a population of 7.5 million, has a daily nucleic acid test capacity of only 100,000;Even if the number increased to 300,000 a day, it would take more than 20 days to complete screening.3. The biggest weakness in Hong Kong’s fight against COVID-19 is the low vaccination rate.Among people aged 70-79, 55.06% had completed two doses of vaccine;Among people aged 80 or older, only 26.26 per cent were vaccinated.In Singapore, 90% of people have completed two doses of the vaccine, and the vaccination rate among the eligible age group is 94%.Singapore has more than 190,000 confirmed cases and a fatality rate of 0.037%.So if you get the vaccine, the fatality rate from omicron infection is very low.4. The only way for Hong Kong to recover from the epidemic is by accelerating the approval and accessibility of oral antiviral drugs and increasing the vaccination rate.This is the most critical moment, but judging from the previous omicron outbreak, the turning point of the epidemic will come only two or three weeks later.Hong Kong reported about 5,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday and the number is still rising.Hong Kong is currently experiencing its fifth wave of COVID-19, with the cumulative number of confirmed cases exceeding 18,000, more than the previous four waves combined.”This is the most critical time since the outbreak began two years ago,” chief Executive Carrie Lam said.According to the report, as of February 11, the daily usage of negative pressure isolation wards/beds in Hong Kong has reached nearly 90%.According to a press release issued by the Hospital Authority of Hong Kong on February 13, the utilization rate of internal medicine inpatient beds in public hospitals has reached 93%, with 30% exceeding 100%.This means that even if tests confirm COVID-19 infection, patients may not be able to receive treatment.▎ ON February 16, 2019, a COVID-19-designated clinic in Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong.The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government announced On Thursday that it will open seven “designated clinics” to help treat patients with mild illness so that they can receive proper treatment.In some stores, shelves have been emptied or only items are being offered at skyrocketing prices.Because of the epidemic crisis, many people fled Hong Kong.People entering Shenzhen from Hong Kong need to enter the “health station” quarantine, but the daily reservation quota is limited, only 600, many people choose to “go through the customs”, waiting for entry at the Shenzhen customs.On February 16, 15 people smuggled into China from Hong Kong via Zhuhai city in Guangdong Province. 12 people have been traced to Hunan and Fujian provinces as well as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, Dongguan and Huizhou in Guangdong Province.There have been four confirmed cases of COVID-19 among illegal immigrants from Hong Kong, and many places have issued rewards for tips on anti-smuggling.In response to the current outbreak in Hong Kong, some experts have suggested that the government consider “locking down” the city, otherwise it would be impossible to safely contain the spread of the virus, with the daily new cases expected to reach 28,000 by mid-March.”There are no plans to close down the city, but the Hong Kong government will continue to carry out dynamic clearance,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam told the media on Thursday.▎ Will Hong Kong people queue for NUCLEIC acid tests?One in 500 of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people is now infected, and the city has become a high-risk area. The outbreak in Hong Kong was caused by the omicron variant.In mainland China, Omicron has repeatedly broken defense in several areas, but the mainland has achieved dynamic zero clearance.Can Hong Kong achieve dynamic zero clearance?That seems difficult!The key of “dynamic zero clearance” is to find the source of infection in time and cut off the chain of infection in time.To achieve timely detection, it is necessary to have a strong nucleic acid detection capacity.One in every 500 people in Hong Kong, a city of 7.5 million, is currently infected, and without full testing, it would be impossible to find all of them.However, Hong Kong’s current nucleic acid test capacity is only 100,000 cases per day, and even if it were increased to 300,000 cases per day, it would take more than 20 days to complete screening.In the meantime, new infections have occurred, and the pace of testing has simply not kept up with the rate of infection.If the speed of the inspection can not keep up, we must cut off the source of infection, we need to limit the flow of potential infected people first!But Hong Kong does not do it well either.In early January, community-transmitted cases of Omicron were detected in Hong Kong, which was timely. However, because not all the infected people could be found in the first place, the epidemic continued to ferment for more than a month.In comparison, in Tianjin, for example, the virus should have been circulating there for more than two weeks when the first case was detected.This has been secretly transmitted in the mainland for a long time, a total of more than 400 people infected.However, after the discovery of the cases, Tianjin listed medium-high risk areas and control areas. Although the city was not closed, it effectively stopped the flow of infected people.In contrast, in Hong Kong, there is no medium-high risk zone, not in early January, not yet!If the whole city is not designated as a medium-high risk zone, and people are moving, then the whole city becomes a high risk zone.A city has been widely infected, and then to achieve zero, the difficulty is not general.In 2020, The epidemic in Wuhan was also very serious, but also achieved zero.But the situation in Hong Kong is different now. First, the virus is different. Omicron is an order of magnitude more contagious.Studies have shown that the so-called “lockdown” in European and American countries has a very limited effect on curbing infection.If the omicron outbreak had been contained by a casual lockdown, the global epidemic would not be as severe as it is now.With the full support of the central government, will Hong Kong be able to clear zero?With the full support of the central government, can Hong Kong achieve zero?It is not easy because Hong Kong is a special administrative region with a different system.The mainland can increase the supply of goods to Hong Kong and fully guarantee the fresh food, vegetables and daily necessities in Hong Kong, but this should be the best help that can be done.The Mainland may also send professionals to Hong Kong to help with testing, epidemic prevention and medical treatment in Hong Kong.However, one of the problems facing Hong Kong is that there are not enough quarantine facilities, and many of the confirmed cases are staying at home.Most importantly, even if China could transfer testing capacity to Hong Kong, it could not import the system.Without the full implementation of the mainland’s measures, Hong Kong can only flatten the epidemic curve, and it is difficult to zero out the epidemic.▎ Hong Kong Secretary for Administration Li Jiachao has been quarantined at home because of a novel Coronavirus rapid test positive for his domestic maids.It is reported that Member of Parliament IP Lau Suk-yee was also confirmed to be infected with the fifth wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong, which has caused 18,000 infections and 23 deaths. Why did Hong Kong have so many deaths?From an objective point of view, Hong Kong is difficult to achieve dynamic zero, can only reduce the number of infections, thereby reducing the number of deaths.Infection is no longer a problem because there is no solution;The number of deaths is a solvable problem.In the mainland, thousands of cases have been reported since omicron broke, but no deaths have been reported so far.In an interview with the media, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that of the 361 cases in Tianjin, “42 percent of those infected have pneumonia symptoms of varying degrees.”Out of those 42 percent, omicron infections are asymptomatic or mild.There have been no COVID-19 deaths in mainland China in the past year, so how many serious cases have there been in Omicron?In Tianjin, only one severe case had been reported before, a cancer patient who had not been vaccinated.But the fifth wave in Hong Kong, which has so far infected 18,000 people, has seen 23 deaths.A three-year-old girl died on Monday, becoming Hong Kong’s youngest COVID-19 fatality.Why are there so many deaths in Hong Kong?The low vaccination rate is Hong Kong’s biggest weakness!Currently, 74.6% of Hong Kong’s population aged 12 and above has completed the two-dose vaccination.That doesn’t look too bad.But if you look at vaccination rates by age, it can make you break out in a cold sweat!Among people aged 70 to 79, 55.06% had completed two doses of vaccine;Among people aged 80 or older, only 26.26 per cent were vaccinated.▎ Vaccination rate among people of different ages in Hong Kong is even lower, at about 5 percent among people 80 or older.More than two years into the pandemic, it’s already clear that the older you are, the greater your risk of severe illness.It is for this reason that older people are given priority in getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in the world, with higher vaccination rates among older people.But the reverse is true in Hong Kong, which has the lowest vaccination rates in the age group most in need of protection!The vast majority of deaths in Hong Kong have been among the elderly, and most have been among those who have not been vaccinated.There is insufficient protection against infection with the Omicron variant, especially inactivated vaccines!It is safe to say that even if Hong Kong as a whole had a 90% vaccination rate, breakout infections would still occur and outbreaks would still occur.However, effective vaccination can greatly reduce the rate of severe illness and mortality after infection!It is for this reason that Europe and the United States resolutely embarked on the road of “liberation” despite the serious epidemic and the large number of infected people.In Singapore, by February 15, 90% of the population has been vaccinated (two doses), and the vaccination rate among the eligible age group is 94%.Not only that, 64 percent of the country got booster shots.However, infection cannot be completely avoided, and the omicron epidemic is still at its peak. However, the current wave of Omicron epidemic in Singapore started on January 6, and by February 14, there were more than 190,000 confirmed cases and 72 deaths. The case fatality rate was only 0.037%, lower than the previous case fatality rate.Also, most of the 72 people were infected with the previous Delta variant, so the fatality rate from omicron infection was low if all had been vaccinated.▎ For Hong Kong, the low vaccination rate of the elderly makes it impossible to “lie flat”.If Hong Kong were to lie flat like Europe and America because of the low vaccination rate among the elderly, the consequences would be worse than Europe and America!How can Hong Kong recover from the epidemic?At present, Hong Kong will purchase over 100 million rapid antigen test kits, which is a strong complement to nucleic acid testing capacity. If rapid tests can be fully used, infected people can consciously avoid community transmission after timely diagnosis, which will help alleviate the epidemic.Please note that this is only said to help alleviate, not to achieve “zero”, why?In the face of the epidemic, “human nature” is the most unreliable, without a strict system, it is impossible to stop the transmission.Assuming that most people are aware and only 10 percent are unaware, then those people are walking around the community enough to transmit a highly contagious virus to 10 other people, and the result is a different kind of “zero out” : everyone without immune protection gets infected and reaches zero out.▎ Hong Kong can get rid of the epidemic only by medical means. One is to speed up the approval and accessibility of oral antiviral drugs, and the other is to improve the vaccination rate.Last week, China’s SFDA approved Pfizer’s Novel Coronavirus treatment Paxlovid, an imported oral drug that can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 90 percent if taken at home, rather than in hospital.Hong Kong, which has its own independent drug regulator, has been quick to approve drugs, but the trouble is that even if it does win approval, demand for Paxlovid is in short supply because of the severity of the global pandemic.In addition to Paxlovid, Merck’s Molnupiravir is also an oral drug. Although it is not as effective as Paxlovid and has more restrictions on its use, it is also a good choice for the elderly at high risk.In addition, there are currently monoclonal antibodies against novel Coronavirus in the world, some of which have good therapeutic effects against Omicron.Beyond drugs, Hong Kong must improve vaccination rates as soon as possible.Hong Kong has both inactivated vaccines and forbutai.Children aged five or older can receive the Sinovax vaccine before, and from Feb 15, the minimum age for sinovax vaccine can be reduced to three years old.From February 16, children aged five to 11 will also be able to receive the forbutidine vaccine.According to the results reported so far, although three injections of fubitai can not completely prevent infection, it is still effective.For those who had received the inactivated vaccine, forbutidine as a booster shot also produced more neutralizing antibodies.▎ There is a clinical trial in Brazil that shows the efficacy of mixed injections. At this point, we can judge that omicron is coming at an urgent time and going at the same time.So, we’re two or three weeks away from a tipping point.Peace be to Hong Kong.