How the pandemic could impact the presidential elections in Moldova, Op-Ed

We are in the 22-nd pandemic week in Moldova and many people are questioning about what we should expect in the next months. I will try to answer this question, using simulations and mathematical models, as well as analysis of experiences of other countries.

During the 21-st week of the pandemic crisis (13-19 July 2020) in Moldova, 2054 new cases were detected. Given the 1598 confirmed cases from the previous week, the average local transmission rate currently equals to 1,29.

What does the local transmission rate mean? It shows the number of healthy people, who will get infected by a person sick with COVID-19 within 7 days.

Taking the number of 2054 sick people in the 21-st week as a starting point, and assuming, the transmission rate will stay at the same level, we should have approximately 2670 newly confirmed cases in the current week.  If the transmission rate will be slightly decreased to 1,1, as example, we should have about 2256 new cases.

Under the assumption, that the transmission rate will still equal to 1,3 in the week 35, and given an incubation period of 7 days, we would have - 80874 new cases in just one week, ending on November,1.

If we manage to diminish the transmission rate to 1,1 in week 35, keeping the incubation period of 7 days, we would have – 7800 new cases in just one week, ending on November,1.

The Presidential Elections in Republic of Moldova are scheduled for 1 November 2020.

This simple calculation shows us the two possible realistic scenarios for holding the presidential elections on November,1, influencing also the quality of that elections. Additionally, to this: in the worst-case scenario election could be cancelled.

Therefore, we have in front of us only 13-14 weeks to succeed and diminish the transmission rate below 1,0 and to ensure the organisation of the elections in the correct way, allowing the free choices, based on the democratic principle.

The presidential elections could serve as one important reason for society consolidation now.

How to stop the pandemic in Moldova?

Many countries in the World have reached different level of performance in managing the pandemic, and their success or unsuccess was mostly determined by the local response measures to the pandemic and the amount of allocated resources.

Looking at the strategies applied among the various countries and according to WHO guidance, the best control on this pandemic have achieved the states, which have applied a holistic non-fragmented approach.

What does a holistic approach for a pandemic mean?

A holistic approach means an extensive set of simple and systemic measures, executed continuously and simultaneously, fully and with high quality:

• Isolation of sick people;
• Contact tracing and quarantine measures;
• Testing of people with symptoms and their contacts;
• Quarantine measures for people from high risk groups (ex: people arriving from high risk countries or elderly);
• Prevention of new cases through the application of individual hygiene, social distancing, protective equipment (mask);
• Proactive communication of risks and associated measures with the goal to avoid a massive contamination;
• Other nonpharmaceutical measures, aiming the interruption of the community transmission chains (schools closing, number of people at events, etc).

Besides the responsibilities of the local authorities, we have a community responsibility to comply with these measures, for a prevention of the new cases.

If we really wish to remain healthy, our children to be able to go to schools on September,1-st, our country to be able to hold the elections on November,1-st, we need a massive consolidation of our efforts and increased cooperation of all people in Moldova. Certainly, together with authorities increasing the testing rate, we will all together succeed.

We are not inventing anything new. Examples of social distancing and isolation of sick people have been applied for hundreds of years.

A recent study revealed, that garden ants, when are infected, practice social distancing, do self-isolation from the group, in order to avoid the contamination of other family members.

Even Moses recommended to people contaminated with leper, to go outside in the desert and dwell alone.

We may just need a Moses, who will repeat more often for us what we shall do, or we may follow the example of the ants.

Ala Tocarciuc, for IPN

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