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Coronavirus in East Europe managed well, better than in West Europe.

(21 Posts)
Rathersexyfortysomethingblonde Wed 06-May-20 18:42:28

I read this and I found it very interesting.
www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/05/why-has-eastern-europe-suffered-less-from-coronavirus-than-the-west
In Slovakia they opened hairdressers, shops on the high street..etc..
Then they all wear masks from the very beginning.
Interesting anyway.

OP’s posts: |
TomPinch Wed 06-May-20 19:17:49

Very interesting.

I live in NZ, which had had lots of praise. But Slovakia, with a larger population, land borders and not far from western Europe (an epicentre) has had fewer cases and fewer deaths.

AGoodPodcastAndANiceCupOfTea Wed 06-May-20 19:21:07

I live in Slovakia and we have some of the lowest rates in the world at the present time. We acted very quickly here and my british family were all mocking us when we shut down thinking it was way ott but I feel like it's been worth it. However, there is now a feeling emerging that the virus isn't really present here and although everywhere is now opening up we've jumped forward a stage and today moved to stage 3 instead of stage 2. The PM has stated aloud that we still shouldn't be mixing outside of our households but lots of people I know are meeting up with friends and wider family and there's definitely groups of non-households out and about. I'm worried that we'll have a second harder wave as people become complacent.
However, there does tend to be a much greater fear of general sickness here - people here don't work if they have a cold or are on antibiotics and my Slovak dh thinks I'm wrong for carrying on as usual whenever I'm sick. I'd say that general day to day hygiene practices are better here. Masks to be worn everyone is the law here and I don't see that going away any time soon and people were wearing masks here as early as early February. This is also a population that tends to travel less and stays in small communities hanging out in very small family groups and we live less densely and are more naturally socially distant here - a by product of communism when you could trust no one I think! I think that the health system here is really not good and we are all terrified of ending up in hospitals and will do as were advised to avoid that eventually!!!! Finally, our borders are closed and are not opening up any time soon and anyone who does arrive from abroad has to do 14 days quarantine in a state facility and I had to do 14 days quarantine with my family in our flat because we had a confirmed case at my work. I do feel trapped and I have no idea when we will see my family irl but it feels nice to be trapped somewhere that feels safe. Let's hope we stay safe!!!

AGoodPodcastAndANiceCupOfTea Wed 06-May-20 19:31:30

@TomPinch It has annoyed me how little we have mentioned in the press. I complained to the guardian when they stated that Greece was the first country to lock down - we beat them by a day here in SK - and said how disappointed I was that we were never mentioned and in response the journalist responsible sent me links to several articles about the Czech Republic who have been a separate country for over 25 years!!!

TomPinch Wed 06-May-20 22:19:22

It's annoying.

Likewise all the praise for NZ. The truth is that we had much more time to get ready. Same with Australia (which in proportional terms has done even better) but who have received less praise. I think in the Guardian's case, they want to give Ardern credit, but not Scott Morrison, for purely ideological reasons.

I also don't understand all the praise for Germany. Their death rate is low, but they still had lots and lots of cases, so to me it looks like they failed too - just not as badly as Spain, Italy, France and the UK. Again, I think it's an ideological desire to praise Merkel.

Seems like eastern Europe has been written out of the script.

Branster Wed 06-May-20 23:12:17

There could be many reasons.
We don’t know if all Eastern European countries are reporting correctly or testing widely.
As per the guardian article, some countries might have a very bad health system so people are afraid of getting ill so they would take precautions.
The history of living under a stricter regime might still have repercussions in that the local population is more willing to obey by the rules even if they sound too strict to other nations.
Friends I know from different Eastern European countries are obsessed with keeping clean and staying healthy - I don’t know if this true of entire countries though.
There might be genetic difference as per this article mentioning a Belgian study. The Belgians have been unbelievably hot with all their studies during this outbreak! It’s old by the current standards but there might be something in it: www.archyde.com/why-are-some-countries-more-affected-than-others-by-coronavirus-belgian-researchers-believe-they-have-found-an-explanation/
There is also the aspect of tuberculosis vaccine, this is something else which has been mentioned and is being studied and I can’t find any of my old links from March. It all started with African countries and observations about some potential resistance to Covid 19. I think in a lot of other European countries, TB vaccination is still routine even if not compulsory. This has can potentially be attributed to the difference in infection and mortality rate between Portugal and Spain. I read somewhere that this vaccination can have extended benefits beyond what is expected (10-15 years max)especially in Scandinavian countries where it can still be effective for up to 30-40 years even.

Slovakia has championed a very sensible and modern approach which is commendable and should have been watched closely from the beginning.

However, with all the countries all over the world, there must be a big difference in population numbers for each country and density. Local customs play a role up to a point. The rest is having foresight, medical facilities fit for purpose and available funds. For ex., nobody can compare to Norway in terms of how much money they have as a government or with Switzerland in terms of facilities (although I have limited knowledge of Switzerland). Smaller population numbers are more manageable perhaps although it still depends on good infrastructure and how reactive the government and population are - Iceland, Faroe, Finland have done very well.

noego Thu 07-May-20 13:20:43

Perhaps its because the UK may have a higher percentage of BAME in the population and that the UK has more care homes for the elderly than other European countries.
If they are going to do this European comparison table which I find distasteful then perhaps we should have all the facts.

unambiguousbeard Thu 07-May-20 13:42:09

I was going to mention the BAME thing too. I used to live in Eastern Europe. It's totally white. Plus smaller population density. Plus fewer people travelling there. Loads of reasons.

Branster Fri 08-May-20 06:33:46

I think we need to look at countries all over the world and draw from from their bad and better results if we are to learn how to live with this virus.
For example, Portugal has done much better than Spain. Italy doesn’t rely on care homes as much as the UK. Africa is certainly of interest but so is the Middle East. Not sure why there are differences. It could be part genetic (how has the population of Italian descent In the US been affected, for example). It could be part social customs and local interactions. It could be existing immunity to certain other infections (inherited or through vaccination programmes). It could be the general Age and overall health of a population in terms of heart conditions, diabetes, weight. It could be all sorts if things that we don’t yet know. Also government response and population behaviour to the crisis in each country has something to do with it.
Many factors.
Once we understand these better, we can be better equipped to protect ourselves.

EricaNernie Fri 08-May-20 06:42:41

Yes these league tables are in bad taste, but irresistible.

YouSetTheTone Fri 08-May-20 07:26:13

Also, surely London being a huge international hub, receiving many Chinese, European business travellers/ students/ tourists etc in the first few weeks of the year had a massive impact. I don’t think those numbers would have gone to Slovakia?

IllegalFred Fri 08-May-20 07:44:15

I think that the health system here is really not good and we are all terrified of ending up in hospitals

Perhaps the people most affected by thr virus - the elderly with multiple underlying conditions - are already dead if the health system is not good? Life expectancy is certainly lower in Eastern Europe

Bool Fri 08-May-20 08:28:31

I don’t understand this comparison obsession. I really don’t. Firstly it not possible given that there is no standard way of counting deaths. Secondly it will be completely influenced by demographics and population densities. Thirdly it isn’t over yet!!!! How do we know what is going to happen in those countries who are seemingly patting themselves on the backs for having done ‘so well’ (whatever that means in a pandemic) and finally it is so bloody distasteful. What kind of satisfaction do people get from being first or in some cases last - so they can beat everyone up about it. Don’t get it.

Kokeshi123 Fri 08-May-20 08:33:03

Re the BCG vaccine---it's believed that the protective effects come mainly from the Soviet strain of the vaccine, which is common in Eastern Europe, Russia and many East Asian countries such as Thailand, South Korea and Japan (but not China, apparently).

Anti-vaccine people are having a bad plague, aren't the? The people who've had their systems "overloaded" with more of those nasty old vaccines (pneumococcal pneumonia, BCG) appear to be doing better than those who kept their systems pure ;)

BlueGheko Fri 08-May-20 08:35:49

I think they're pretty certain air travel played a huge part in the spread/prevalence of the virus. I'm guessing UK had millions more incoming flights in jan/feb/March than Eastern european countries for a start plus we were very late to lockdown. Then there's the refusal of many in the uk to wear facemasks. Plus of course our completely useless and clueless government, I mean our own prime minister shook hands with covid parents then almost died. Can't get much more stupid than that.

BeforeIPutOnMyMakeup Fri 08-May-20 08:52:42

There was a study of hand washing around Europe which was published late last year. It found that those from Eastern European countries actually washed their hands more, while those from Western European countries claimed they did but didn't in practice. So some of it is down to basic hygiene being better.

@BlueGheko people in the UK aren't refusing to wear facemasks we are actively being told not to wear them by the public health bodies as they fear there won't be enough for health care professionals.

The last time I went out to shops on 20 March I went to two pharmacies in a different part of London to where I live. People were buying and wearing facemasks. What was interesting is while many in the shop were doing this, they had absolutely no awareness of people around them and kept bumping into people, staring into space and blocking aisles. Where I actually live in London there is a large East Asian population and those who were wear face masks - not all East Asian btw - from late February still had an awareness of other people around them. I live in an area of London with low rates of Covid-19 compared the area I visited to help some people out. I'm surprised as we have care homes here which aren't just for the elderly but also for very disabled children and young adults.

MrsPear Fri 08-May-20 09:16:56

Albania did well too. For a supposed poor country they had the available testing, quarantine facilities and low death rate vs infection rates. The government cracked down hard quickly when people showed a failure in understanding the risk. The families of the first two patients (from Italy) were vilified in the press for visiting, not using masks and carrying on. Then the crack down happened. The boarders closed completely too.

Bool Sat 09-May-20 07:49:37

Albania did well too

I think this sums it up. This pandemic is far from over.

Splodgetastic Sat 09-May-20 08:37:05

Lots of factors, including those just mentioned. Sorry, I know Czech Republic is not Slovakia, but in the Czech Republic they encouraged mask wearing and for people to make their own. In the UK when this was suggested, instead of the BBC putting out a quarter of an hour public info on how to sew a face mask the journos were all asking, “What about people who can’t sew?” We need to address the serious lack of basic skills of literacy, numeracy, cooking, sewing and generally being able to fix things. I’m not saying that health awareness and make do and mend is something that hasn’t been borne of necessity in the recent past for some countries in Europe, but seriously, what kind of a question is that for a serious journalist to ask? Anyone capable of living independently can be given a needle and thread, and learn how to sew.

CrowdedHouseinQuarantine Sat 09-May-20 08:53:18

you can actually make a mask without sewing, it was shared here:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVEVve-3QeM&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1LBPMYDbE5R04FxejnpNUMBt3gsuue_keQq_zdl1qoUwxsJH7BjjyJcaY

Splodgetastic Sat 09-May-20 09:51:06

Lateral thinking! You must be the brains of the operation. ;-)

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