New coronavirus, how to tackle The case of Hokkaido, Japan (A)

Japan was suffered this crisis earlier than other countries besides China. Therefore I would like to share with you our experience and countermeasures to this virus. I hope they would help you to make strategies to cope with this problem.

Data source: Hokkaido government website:

The case of Hokkaido

Hokkaido is the most infected prefecture in Japan. 157 people were infected, 6 people dead(3.8%) and 73 patients have already recovered (recover rate is 46%) as of Mar 19, 2020. One of the reasons is that there are a lot of tourists, especially from China. The graph above shows the daily number of patients infected with the virus.

The first patient was found in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido on Jan 28th. She was a tourist from Wuhan, China. After this case, there was a snow festival in Sapporo. This is the largest event in Hokkaido. There are more than 200, 000 visitors every year including foreign tourists. After the festival, the number of patients has increased and the Hokkaido government recognized some of them infected in the office of the snow festival. Around one week later, the patient number is dramatically increased. Therefore the governor of Hokkaido had an emergency meeting with experts. On the 28th of February, He did an “emergency declaration” of COVID-19. He asked the citizen of Hokkaido not to go out except for any emergency reasons. Also, he asked all schools to close temporarily to avoid the spread of the virus. After these measures, the trend of the patient increase was gradual. This declaration has good for around three weeks. During this time period, we could increase the number of hospitals can treat with the disease and also increase the number of beds from 100 to 200 for the patients in serious condition with this virus.

Learnings from the experience

From this experience, we learned how to tackle this epidemic. I want to share it with you at some points.

How to delay the peak of the outbreak

Due to the emergency declaration by the governor, the citizens tried to stay in their homes. As a result, hospitals could have some time to prepare the system and the capacity to deal with this case. Therefore we can avoid the panic situation in medical institutions.

Adapt the triage system

If you do not have a sufficient number of hospitals to deal with this new virus, it better to do the triage system. It is better to prioritize the patients depend on the severity of their condition. The hospitals accept only emergency patients. The waiting time in the hospital will be the risk of the spread infection.

Three conditions to emerge corona cluster

One of the factors to increase the number of patients is the cluster formation. The following is the three conditions to make the cluster of patients;

Source: Ministry of health and welfare Japan

In Sapporo, there was a cluster case that occurred in a live bar. 19 people were infected there. The cluster means that one infected person transmitted multiple persons. Besides Hokkaido, in other prefectures also there are some cluster cases in live houses. Therefore the point of avoiding the rapid increase in the number of patients is how to minimize basic reproduction number, the average number of secondary infections generated by one infectious individual. So the ministry of health recommend to take the following actions;

  • Do not go to the places which satisfy the above three conditions such as live houses, sports gyms, exhibitions and so on.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation
  • Reduce the density of people
  • Avoid conversations and vocalization in the close proximity (use face mask)

How to make masks

Waring mask is good etiquette and avoids the spread, however, I imagine you can not obtain them easily in this situation. I found some information to make masks by your self.

The link of DIY mask (in English)

Enhance your immune system

Also, probiotics and prebiotics are effective to enhance your immune system. So eat vegetables which will be feeds of good microorganisms and eat yogurt after the meals (take good microorganisms such as lactic acid bacterias)

Reliable online learning source of COVID-19

Imperial College of London is providing an online course with updated information about this virus on Coursera, one of the learning platforms by leading universities all over the world.

Science Matters: Let’s Talk About COVID-19

Regarding the recent data and analysis, we do not have enough samples date statistically significant in Japan. Let us share with you the website of CDC(Center for Disease Control and Prevention) of the US. It is better to check periodically to obtain the latest information.