Quarantines Don't Work and Cause Mass Panic, NYU's Gounder Says

Channel: Bloomberg Markets and Finance
Published: 5 hours ago

Jan.27 -- Dr. Celine Gounder, New York University assistant professor in the department of medicine, discusses the efforts to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak with Bloomberg's David Westin on "Balance of Power."

We'Ve got a lot of reports of what the chinese authorities are doing, really, locking down tens of millions of people over there checking your rydia airports. Are they doing enough so they're two key developments from over the weekend that, i think, will help us answer that question. So one of which it would appear that the the virus was already spreading even as early as october and at least in n ...
vember, so that means that the virus was spreading undetected and so we're really only detecting it now because we're looking for it, we have a Test for it that didn't really emerge until the end of december. So that's one key issue. The other key development is that it would seem that sometimes the virus may be transmitting by people who do not have symptoms at all, and that has yet to be confirmed by the cdc. But if you can't figure out who's infected and who might be transmitting it's very difficult to contain this at the same time there seems to be - i won't call it panic, but a lot of concern in china everybody's got masks on. Is there a risk here of actually panicking people and being counterproductive every flocking into health care centers immediately? Well, the history has shown that travel bans and quarantines don't usually work. We'Ve never done anything on this scale before quarantines in the case of ebola, were very specific. Actually, to the specific patient who had symptoms, who is being diagnosed and managed, but when you're doing this kind of population level quarantine, it has not been shown to work. It basically drives, as you said, mass panic and also as a consequence of all of this you're already seeing shortages of food of medical supplies. We'Ve seen videos of chinese women in grocery stores. You know duking it out literally to buy produce, and some of that may actually be even more dangerous.

Have we learned from earlier epidemics? I guess sars is the one where you automatically think, oh, because that was a corona virus right. That was another. Did we learn something there about what does work and what doesn't work and trying to contain this, or does it just have to burn its way out? So if this is not transmitted by people without symptoms, then the same strategies we used for prior corona viruses like sars, as well as free bola, which is basically what are the symptoms getting tested. If you're contagious, you know having them be hospitalized until they're. Outside of that window, that works, you know and then you're also tracing contacts of people who have been in contact with them. But if people who have symptoms are transmitting that's a game-changer.

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