Four Ways to Destroy Coronavirus: Infographic

The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 5.4 million people worldwide and the global death toll has exceeded 345,000 according to NY Times. The US case total exceeded 1.6 million with a death toll of over 98,000. As the nation heads towards a 100K toll, the Times published a brilliant front page on Saturday, May 24th listing the names of 1,000 victims under the news headline “An Incalculable Loss“.

Experts predict these numbers to go even higher as all 50 states reopen to business as usual with some modifications.

With that said, below is an useful infographic on how to destroy COVID-19:

Click to enlarge

Source: Compound Interest

Interesting Article on Manchurian Plague, 1910-11

Many of the epidemics and pandemics in modern times originated in China. For example, the Asian Flu (1956-1958), SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2002, H7N9 in 2012, etc. all started in China. Of course, the country is also the source for the current coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19). The reasons for why China is the originator of many deadly diseases are many. The following excerpt from an article early this years offers a few:

All of these outbreaks originated in China, but why? Why is China such a hotspot for novel diseases?

“It’s not a big mystery why this is happening… lots of concentrated population, with intimate contact with lots of species of animals that are potential reservoirs, and they don’t have great hygiene required. It’s a recipe for spitting out these kinds of viruses,” Dr. Steven Novella recently opined on an episode of the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe.

South Central China is a noted “mixing vessel” for viruses, Dr. Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance, told PBS in 2016. There’s lots of livestock farming, particularly poultry and pigs, with limited sanitation and lax oversight. Farmers often bring their livestock to “wet markets” where they can come into contact with all sorts of exotic animals. The various birds, mammals, and reptiles host viruses that can jump species and rapidly mutate, even potentially infecting humans. Experts are pretty sure this is precisely what happened with the current COVID-19 coronavirus, which is why, on January 30th, China issued a temporary ban on the trade of wild animals.

There are also cultural reasons why China plays host to large outbreaks.

“Many Chinese people, even city dwellers, insist that freshly slaughtered poultry is tastier and more healthful than refrigerated or frozen meat,” journalist Melinda Liu wrote for Smithsonian in 2017. “The public’s taste for freshly killed meat, and the conditions at live markets, create ample opportunity for humans to come in contact with these new mutations.”

Source: Why Do New Disease Outbreaks Always Seem to Start in China?, Real Clear Science

While doing some research online I came to know about the Manchurian plague of 1910-11 which also started in China. From an article on this plague:

In the autumn of 1910, the press in China began to report that a rare and deadly pneumonic plague had reached Harbin in the extreme Northeast of China, then known as Manchuria.[1] Though confined largely to China’s Northeastern provinces, cases were reported sporadically throughout the empire, in Tianjin, Beijing and along the Beijing-Hankou railway line stretching down into central China, reflecting the scale of the epidemic.[2] It is difficult to attain precise statistics about the death toll of the plague; however reports suggest that between 50,000 and 60,000 people died, with an unprecedented mortality rate of 100 per cent.[3] As a point of comparison, this places the death toll of the Manchurian plague in the same region as that of the more familiar Great Plague of London (1665-66).[4]


The plague is likely to have originated amongst tarbagan marmot hunted for their fur in Manchuria.[5] As the German chemical industry developed new dyes, cheap marmot fur could be manufactured into imitation sable, mink and otter fur.[6]Consequently, the value of marmot fur rose from a ‘few kopecks a skin to a rouble’, causing migrant hunters to flock to Manchuria. These migrants, however, were inexperienced. Whereas local hunters, many of whom were from the region’s Buryat ethnicity, could identify and avoid diseased marmots, the migrant hunters collected unhealthy marmots, infecting themselves with the plague bacilli the diseased animals carried.[7]

The spread of the plague was exacerbated by the bitter cold of the northern winter, which caused the hunters to huddle together in huts, quickly spreading the airborne pneumonic plague. Manchuria’s extensive railway network further aided the rapid transmission of the disease by facilitating the movement of large numbers of migrant workers returning home for the New Year Festival.[8]

From Khailar in October the plague spread to Harbin, where thirteen cases had been reported to be ‘fatal’[9] and by November 8th the city had a death toll of 5,272 deaths. Quarantine and control had been put in place in order to prevent the spread, however by January, Mukden (today’s Shenyang) had over 2,571 deaths,[10] soon spreading south to the capital city, Peking where an additional five cases were found.[11] Thus, the plague quickly spread throughout towns and cities along the railway lines in Manchuria, thriving in areas defined by ‘dense population, high human mobility and poor hygiene conditions’.[12]Subsequently, cities throughout Manchuria experienced high death rates, such as Kuancheng, near Jilin, which reported over 200 deaths per day.[13]

Due to the popularity of the relatively cheap, third-class tickets offered by the South Manchurian Railway most cases of plague infected cities along the rail line first, then spread further to small villages, with some being reported as far as Tientsin.[14]There were fears it would spread further, especially to Peking, as workers travelled home and shopped for Chinese New Year (30th Jan). The worst hit areas were the crowded provincial capitals Changchun, Harbin, and Mukden, with deaths of up to 150, 130, and 60 daily respectively.[15] The majority of infections fell on poor, middle-aged Chinese who lived in crowded conditions with poor sanitation; very few foreigners contracted the plague, if so, they were medical staff.[16],[17] Through carrying out recommended procedures (isolation) infection in most cities and villages died out within two weeks; by the middle of March, Manchuria had resumed normality with plague existing only in hospitals. Schools, factories, and businesses including the whole of the South Manchurian Railway were open, working harder to recover lost ground.[18]

Note: All the references noted above are in the linked site.

Source: Manchurian plague, 1910-11, Investment Office

The entire article is worth a read. History does indeed repeat itself even with respect to pandemics, epidemics and plagues.

War on Covid-19: Vietnam vs. US

The total Covid-19 cases in the U.S. exceeds 1.6 million and the number of deaths 96,610 as of May 23, 2020 according to NY Times. Vietnam on the other hand has had just 324 cases so far with no deaths according to published data. The sharp contrast in these figures between the countries will be studied by scientists and academic experts once the pandemic is over.

Below is chart comparing the death toll of US and Vietnam:

Click to enlarge

Source: Our World In Data

The following is an excerpt from a piece on this subject published in April in Asia Times:

“Our team up in Hanoi is working very, very closely with their Ministry of Health counterparts,” said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s representative in Thailand, John MacArthur.

“The communications I’ve had with my Vietnam team is that at this point in time, [they] don’t have any indication that those numbers are false,” MacArthur said, according to US National Public Radio.

The US also did not coordinate the information in their health and safety messages to the public, or blanket the country with broadcasts, print media, street posters and other ubiquitous warnings and reminders which Hanoi did on a scale reflecting its mass mobilization efforts during the war.

Hanoi’s impressive twin successes – both against America during the war and now in containing the spread of Covid-19 – have been achieved by commanding citizens to act, manipulating media and controlling public and private enterprises.

The Communist Party’s tight hold on then-North Vietnam, and on today’s united Vietnam, have enabled Hanoi to respond with comparatively limited resources.

Source: Why Vietnam won and US lost their Covid-19 wars, Asia Times

From a piece in The Guardian on the success of Vietnam:

Vietnam didn’t just flatten its coronavirus curve, it crushed it. No deaths have been reported, official case numbers have plateaued at just 271, and no community transmissions of the virus have been reported in the last two weeks. On 23 April, the nation eased lockdowns in its major cities and life is gradually returning to normal. It is a stark contrast to many other nations including the US, where more Americans have died from Covid-19 than during the entire Vietnam war.

Kidong Park, the World Health Organisation’s representative to Vietnam, has praised the country’s response to the crisis.

Quarantining tens of thousands in military-style camps and vigorous contact tracing procedures have helped Vietnam to avoid the disasters unfolding in Europe and the US. After testing over 213,000 people, the nation has the highest test-per-confirmed-case ratio of any country in the world. A creative public information campaign featuring viral handwashing songs and propaganda-style art helped, but it was decisive early action – hastened by a government praised for its response to Sars in 2003 – that proved most effective.

Source: Vietnam crushed the coronavirus outbreak, but now faces severe economic test, The Guardian, May 5, 2020