Industry 4.0

Coronavirus: how the simplest form of life defeated high technology

From the first sight it doesn`t seems that the coronavirus pandemic announced this week is directly related to digital technology. Well, except for the fact that the load on the Internet has increased many times - people have to work remotely, schoolchildren study remotely, and so on
17 march 2020

There is a free access to a popular porn resource for a month for Italian citizens - this is also a digital consequence of the coronavirus. Temperamental Italians should now refrain from close contact. Online food delivery services were also among the beneficiaries of the pandemic. Three days ago, in the Czech Republic it was a shock to close the cafe at 20.00 - the first anti -epidemic measure. Today, cafes and restaurants have been closed to a month for now.

If the virus had been around the world for a longer period, self- driving cars, which are still only being tested in different countries, would probably have become commonplace. So far, we have less than a hundred of such cars and they are located in Skolkovo, and there is a driver, but he does not hold the wheel. However, in conditions when it is scaring to go down to the subway, with its crowds of people and artificial ventilation, this "inhuman" technology would quickly be implemented in life.

Borders are urgently closing for foreigners all over the world. The citizens are still allowed to return to the motherland, but with mandatory self -isolation after arrival.

“Self- isolation - it is necessary to buy such self- adhesive tape and wrap it around,” - political scientist Ekaterina Shulman sadly joked on the air of "Echo of Moscow". There seems to be no other way out. It is symptomatic that our postmodern civilization was driven to such severe measures by a disease that is not so terrible, but rather belongs to the modern era.

In most cases, the coronavirus passes as a usual respiratory infection of average gravity. COVID-19- a new variety of long-known coronaviruses that affect animals and people (according to doctors, we and animals have different coronaviruses that are not transmitted between species). Treatment for it is symptomatic, as for any respiratory infection - copious warm drink, antipyretics, nasopharyngeal humidification. Fresh air, frequent hand washing - all that we have long learned. A large percentage of patients do not even know that they have had a coronavirus. So far, doctors are not able to test for a new virus for all those who caught a cold.

However, the current pandemic has become a big challenge for post-industrial medicine. All those who are faced with healthcare in Western Europe, note its significant difference from the usual Soviet (namely, Soviet, not Russian) type of healthcare. Modern Western medicine has relied on big Pharma and high technology. When you need high-tech help, it works perfectly, the coolest operations are done like on a factory conveyor. Miracle drugs for a lot of money can cure the most complex diseases-paid either out of the patient's pocket, or on medical insurance. Lay in the hospital for 3-5 days, passed modern examinations, and walk healthy on all four sides. To keep a patient in the hospital for two or three weeks, to make him restorative IVS to maintain the health of the cardiovascular system, to nurse patients in a hospital, there is not accepted (hence the stories that in the West are unknown drugs such as our Actovegin – technological foreign medicine solves the problems operationally instead of Actovegin and Mildronate).

A runny nose, cough, and slightly elevated temperature are not considered as a disease in the modern West. People with these symptoms are sent to analogs of our regional clinics, where they only have to wait in line and get infected with new infections. Again, you can`t call a doctor at home, as we do. Only an ambulance when it gets really bad.

And this is what "really bad" COVID-19 failed technological Western medicine. Because the number of complications with coronavirus is greater than with normal flu, complications more often affect the most vulnerable groups of the population - the elderly, people suffering from chronic heart diseases, diabetes, and so on. Hospitals do not have enough AV (artificial lung ventilation) and ECMO (invasive extracorporeal method of blood oxygen saturation (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) for the development of severe acute respiratory failure).

If the Soviet state medicine still remembered the epidemics of Spanish fever, cholera and typhus, and worked to prevent the mass retirement of labor personnel from their jobs, without counting public money. Modern medicine of the Western insurance model – counts money, so there are no unnecessary hospital places, rates of doctors and nurses, and even more so, there is no complex equipment idle in "peacetime" in hospitals. That's what's causing the panic. When a doctor has to decide whether to intubate an 85-years old or a 30-years old patient using the available options, then the moment of truth comes.

It is scary to even think about what the epidemic will result in in Russia, where the Soviet type of health care has already been abandoned, and the Western one has not yet arrived. Perhaps the coronavirus is already here - mass outbreaks of pneumonia, which is not a contagious disease, did not surprise anyone last winter. Tests have only been done since last week, and then not to everyone who may need them. The fact that our doctors are even afraid to diagnose "flu" is a well-known fact. There are not enough ECMO devices in the country, and where can they come from if the equipment costs from 6 to 13 million rubles, and supplies for one clinical case — 250-500 thousand rubles, while the cost of treating a serious patient who is connected to ECMO is on average 1.5-1.8 million rubles, and even in the West this is the most expensive procedure in insurance medicine.

In the meantime, our salvation is on surfing the Internet and reducing social contacts. And yes, British scientists have issued a memo warning that if you constantly read the latest news about the coronavirus, especially if you are driving or crossing the road, the consequences of the pandemic can be more severe. We need to distract ourselves with something more optimistic.