US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Village doctors from the French departments of Drome and Brittany say that they play online games to pass the time in their hastily converted hospitals, in vain waiting for the influx of patients with coronavirus. “We didn’t have to fight,” says Céline Gondoin, a doctor from Droma. Dr. Céline Berthié, from the Küssack-Fort-Medoc commune north of Bordeaux, says she sees 4 or 5 patients with suspected covid-19 per week, although she expected to see “tsunamis infected.”
In this commune, as in many other places, the rapidly established outpatient counseling centers are deserted. Some have already closed, as in Grenoble. Some have not accepted a single patient.
The Maginot Line between regions with threatening statistics and quiet areas divides France into the northeast and southwest, forming a “front” zone in the metropolitan area.
Coronavirus seems to have settled in several territories and is not going to leave them. Ten departments account for half of the deaths. Conversely, in sixteen departments since the start of the epidemic, less than ten deaths have been recorded in total.
It would be tempting to see in all this the positive effect of quarantine measures. But this strange, uneven distribution of the coronavirus seems constant, regardless of the measures taken.
This pattern was found in Spain, where Madrid and Catalonia account for 60% of deaths, and in Italy – 70% of deaths are recorded in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna. An uneven picture arises in Sweden and the Netherlands, which, however, did not take quarantine measures. In the southern region of the Netherlands, for example, 530 deaths per million inhabitants were recorded, and in the west, where Amsterdam is located, 220.
“What is surprising is not only the concentration of the epidemic, but the fact that this concentration does not change over time,” said Olivier Bouba-Olga, a professor at the University of Poitiers, who tracks the evolution of the epidemic from the moment it occurred .
This specific method of spreading the virus was already noticed in 2002-2003, during the previous epidemic – SARS-Cov-1. This virus, similar to the current one (called SARS-Cov-2), has also spread by oil stains, concentrating on several cities in China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and even Toronto.
In a retrospective study, two main factors are distinguished: the fundamental role of supercontaminating events (the spread of viral infection) and nosocomial transmission to medical personnel. They play a key role in the current epidemic. Recall the evangelical meeting in Mulhouse, where more than a thousand believers were infected, including a nurse who allegedly infected 250 nursing colleagues at university hospitals in Strasbourg. In Italy, the Atalanta Champions League football game against Valencia is considered the trigger of the national epidemic: about 40 thousand fans gathered there. “German Wuhan” was the carnival in Gangelt, not far from the Dutch border. In these gatherings, where people stand close to each other, air pollution is greatest.
It is also important that most pollution occurs during long-term social interactions in a closed environment. After analyzing more than 7,300 cases of the disease outside the original outbreak (Hubei Province), Chinese researchers found that the infection occurred in enclosed spaces, mainly in apartments. Another study in New York points to the role of the subway, limited space, as a contributing factor in the spread of the epidemic throughout the city.
In closed places, the process will be the same: drops left by carriers of the virus will concentrate on surfaces (clothes, walls, pens, smartphones), and then, through the mouth, nose and eyes (they are the “gateway” for the virus) enter the body of another person .
Microdrops can remain “suspended” in the air, causing a person to become infected with such air for several hours. These suspensions can accumulate in confined spaces, such as hospital toilets, and even penetrate ventilation systems. As soon as a spark arises, the epidemic moves from one closed place to another: apartments, metro, prisons, nursing homes or even hospitals. They are the second “engine” of the current epidemic.
Only in Paris hospitals in mid-April, 4 thousand 275 medical workers were tested positively on covid-19. And among employees of other medical and social institutions as of April 20, there were 31 thousand 900 possible or confirmed cases of the disease.
Another factor noted by some studies: air pollution or, more precisely, the speed of suspended particles. In France, Italy and Spain, the areas with the highest levels of fine particles in the air suffered the most. Is this a simple consequence of urbanized territories or a real causal relationship? Several studies indicate the ability of viruses to “cling” to polluting particles and thus survive longer in the air and circulate with the wind. Another hypothesis: air pollution enhances the symptoms of covid-19, making the mucous membranes of the nose, throat and respiratory tract more vulnerable. However, these versions are also not yet confirmed.
Finally, climate can also play a role: high temperatures and ultraviolet radiation, in theory, weaken viruses, so everyone hopes that summer will slow the spread of the pandemic.
Limited spaces, population density, hospitals, metro … Now we better understand why coronavirus prefers rural cities.
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