Coronavirus quarantine centers seem effective — but remain a tough sell

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, health officials have said one of the most challenging elements about the virus is that some infected hosts are asymptomatic while others become ill or even die.

But let’s say someone comes down with a low-grade fever. He gets tested and learns he has the virus. He’s tired but not in need of hospital care, so he returns home and in the process, exposes his wife and mother to the virus.

Health officials in some countries claim they know the best method to prevent the disease’s spread — but its implementation is the problem.

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A Bloomberg report published on Thursday pointed out that some countries that have struggled with COVID-19 outbreaks have enacted a strategy that employs centralized facilities for those who are infected until they are no longer a risk to the public.

The sick individual would be separated from their family and held at a large facility with others who have the virus but do not require hospitalization.

Jeremy Lim, an adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of public health, told Bloomberg that a “laissez-faire approach naively trusting everyone to be responsible has been shown to be ineffective, as there will always be a proportion who will breach the terms of the isolation.”

The report pointed out that some countries studied how those with the disease responded to quarantine orders. There were 3,000 people in Australia who were told to self-isolate and 800 disregarded the orders. The report also pointed out that 40% of Japan’s elderly patients came down with the virus from a cohabitant.

The idea that health officials could force patients with mild symptoms to one of these centers would likely be chilling for many Americans and would likely draw swift comparisons to a George Orwell novel.

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democrat nominee, and Sen. Kamala Harris, his running mate, were criticized by conservatives after they called for a nationwide mask mandate, saying “every American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum.”

Many in the U.S. have been critical of state overreach during the pandemic by limiting church services and other social gatherings, enforcement almost seems impossible to even consider, and that is without considering reports of test results that are false positives.

The Bloomberg report said the U.S. is not broadly enacting the policy that has been used in Italy and South Korea. The report said it is not being widely used in Australia.

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Stephen Leeder, emeritus professor of public health and community medicine at the University of Sydney, told the outlet, “From what I know about the Australian psyche, I don’t think it would go down all that well.”