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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

How has Thailand avoided the worst of Covid-19? – VIDEO

Tanutam Thawan

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We examine some of the reasons Thailand has been able to avoid the surges and 2nd waves of Covid-19. Whilst many countries are now suffering a 2nd and 3rd wave of the coronavirus, Thailand has locked itself in a bubble of its own making. Almost zero cases and any new cases coming from repatriates. Now the country has to figure out how to re-open its economy and borders, safely.

Why has Thailand, with a population greater than that of the UK, been largely spared the catastrophic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the nation and much of the world?

Social distancing is embedded in Thai culture – Thais rarely touch when greeting, preferring the prayer-like “wai” gesture to a handshake or embrace. Could this custom be at least partly responsible for the country’s low numbers?

There have been no overwhelmed hospitals in the country’s public hospital system. No dead bodies in the streets. No social media postings from frantic doctors or nurses. The country simply acted swiftly, and with a determined force.

Thailand was quick to adopt the use of facemasks, close schools and enforce social distancing on public transport, even before declaring a national state of emergency and curfew, sealing its borders and forbidding interprovincial travel. Is that what prevented the runaway transmission of the virus here? Is there a genetic component that makes the immune systems of Thais (and others in the Mekong River region) more resistant to the virus? Or is it some combination of all these factors that have insulated this country of 69 million?

One thing’s for sure, despite an influx of foreign visitors early in the year from countries badly hit by the virus, especially China, Thailand has recorded just 3,236 cases since January, 58 deaths and achieved a 95.5% recovery rate. As of today, there have been no cases of local transmission for about 7 weeks (although there’s been a steady flow of daily single-figure infections as Thais repatriate from overseas)

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Rinky Stingpiece

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    How many countries have accurate figures about the start of covid-19? Most countries in the world weren’t testing ubiquitously, so it looks like only studying and modelling by international experts over the coming years will yield anything close to the truth of the situation around the world.

  2. Avatar

    Sammy X

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Sorry I don’t for a minute believe that this is accurate numbers. Either they are fabricated or there is no actual testing.

    Is like Trump said, if you don’t test there are no COVID cases 😉

    • Avatar

      Gio

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      You have a point regarding testing but if there were significant undetected infections here in Thailand there would be far more hospitalizations and (likely) far more deaths. Thailand has done a very good job in managing Covid, much better than many other countries incluing the USA and most of Europe.

    • Avatar

      Ludwig Dreher

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 7:37 pm

      yes but then the hospital would be full of sick people. If not true.
      I think we very lucky just look at the USA and Canada how many die and how any in hospital.
      I don’t think you could hide that.

  3. Avatar

    Jason

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Thailand has achieved these things, it is true. It is also true that the economy and the tourist industry has been sacrificed to enable this to happen. People are starving through no income, people have no work and no prospect of work for some time, Businesses have failed and have closed, never to reopen. The ramifications of this pandemic and the effect on the people will be in effect, long after the pandemic has eased. The one’s I feel most for are the people, especially those involved in tourism. That too is a consequence of the Thai Government’s actions. The remedies have been “We travel together”,”The phuket model” and now a short term visa amnesty coupled with “Rich People long term Visa” and some allowance for medical tourists. The only positive of these schemes is the possibility of expats coming home (finally). Iam simply summarising the reactions of people in what I am saying. Maybe it’s timefor the Thai Government to listen.

  4. Avatar

    murika

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    with one of the lowest covid test rate per person in the world, the covid can’t really exist here, but it is, someone working in thai hospital told me that they don’t even test dead people, how can they know the figures, typical of that government to put the dust under the carpet, if we don’t see it, it don’t exist, but then payut go get his medal from WHO like a kid for best handling of covid in the world, and all the thai put their hand on their heart listening to the national anthem with tears in the eyes being so proud of world recognizing how Thailand is great ! i love thailand, i live there for 13 years, i have a thai wife, and speak the language, but i’m always fascinated how thai people favorize the appearance before the reality, and find it logic

  5. Avatar

    Bobby m

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    In my opinion

    Firstly, I don’t think you can compare Thailand and the U.K’s population numbers, with the land mass being at least four or possibly even five times larger. The population is by its own nature much more spread out and socially distanced.

    I don’t take anything away from the way Thailand has managed treatment and initial control. However, I cannot agree that they acted quickly. It is a known fact that the virus was active from December 19 and infecting Chinese citizens wholesale (especially in Wuhan). Those very same citizens were pouring into Thailand and other locations at the same time. The majority travelling to Thailand for their new year celebrations. Thailand did nothing at that time to stop them coming. So no I don’t think Thailand reacted quickly.

    So why has it done so well ?

    Is it about culture, yes culture is going to play a part, but it is not the sole reason. The virus spreads in many different ways.

    Again my opinion

    Firstly, I think the heat does have great influence on Covid infections, coronavirus is a flu virus that thrives in lower temperatures. It doesn’t do well in heat. There have been many studies with varying results. However, the consensus of opinion is that it is much more virulent in cool temperatures.

    So what are the reasons it had any effect in hot countries. Well first of all, yes it can live in heat although again the consensus is that it’s already on the back foot, because of the heat. So areas it that it thrives well will be air conditioned, such as shops, malls, hotels, airports in fact anywhere it’s cool. Then comes the hygiene. Hand to mouth, hand to nose and hand to eye and it’s in.

    Where I believe the advantage has been is airborne and surface transportation. Here is where I believe the heat is of advantage and the survival of the virus is greatly reduced.
    In another article, there was a comparison between two of the hottest states in the USA with Thailand, questioning why it was so bad in those states, if heat restricted the virus. The answer was simple really. The percentage of air conditioners.

    So to hospitals and recovery rate.
    They have done a fantastic job, as have all front line workers across the world. I believe that once again heat has also played a part here. Hospitals I have visited in Thailand, unless private, are essentially not air conditioned, therefor once again the virus is on its back foot.

    Immunity?
    Yes I really think so, Thailand does not appear to have a bad flu problem, as is suffered by most of the cooler countries in the world. However, it has been scientifically proven that some ethnicities are more susceptible than others. But the reasons as to why remain a mystery. So it stands to reason some must be less susceptible, so yes it could be a natural immunity, but the jury will remain out on that one.

    So to sum up, I believe Thailand has done a good job, but have had a great deal of natural help. No they did not act quickly and now they are not coping at all well.

    Fact. This is a virus and It will mutate.

    We may never have a vaccine that is effective or is a permanent fix.

    With those two statements, it’s pretty obvious to the majority of the world, that life must now continue to allow economic progress. We can do our best to track trace and control by self isolation, essentially at the government’s expenses, hygiene and social distancing.

    Thailand is embarrassing its self with its draconian approach, lack of trust and rip off ideas. Honestly, some of the ideas coming from TAT, could have come from kindergarten.

    If the government want to impose these draconian hoops to jump through, then they should absorb the cost (speculate to accumulate). They seem to have forgotten that tourists are customers and have far easier and much less expensive choices.

    It’s time for adults to step in and stop Thailand falling backwards in time.

    Economy crashing much more than being declared
    Investment confidence lost
    Favouritism with the country that gave us this virus being duly noted by the rest of the economic world
    Personal debt up
    Suicide up
    Drug use up
    Alcoholism up
    People with insufficient money to eat a healthy diet

    Thailand’s roots are dying far more than any damage the virus will cause

    It’s not to late, but it will be soon.

    Those causing these restrictions and problems for there own people would do well to realise where there education and income came and comes from. Yes the very people they are destroying. When they cannot work. They cannot contribute to the economic recovery.

    You may be sat comfortably on a good salary now. However, if the economy is not restored, be assured, that will change.

    Time to wake up and smell the coffee.

    • Avatar

      Gio

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 5:54 pm

      I’m no scientist but the hypothesis that heat helps prevent the spread of Covid doesn’t stand up when considering infection rates and deaths in Inda, Brazil, Mexico, and quite a few other warm-weather countries. Thailand has done many things right in managing Covid. I’m very happy (and healthy) to be here (Thailand) instead of my home country which has not handled Covid well at all. Thank you Thailand.

      • Avatar

        Bobby m

        Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 10:09 pm

        I understand Your feelings Gio. However, it is a scientific fact that corona viruses do not thrive well in heat. This is why the Flu is essentially a winter illness. There are also many other factors in play. You mention India as one of your examples for hot countries. Have you been there. It suffers with massive poverty issues which in turn results in appalling sanitary and hygiene issues. Mexico is similar. I have never been to Brazil, but looking at the favelas I would say there are your reasons.
        I am also not suggesting that Thailand has done a bad job, but i firmly believe there has been some natural help in the way of heat and possibly some immunity and they certainly were not quick to respond.

        The more worrying factor, is that if they don’t jumpstart their economy, I don’t believe you will need to worry about catching Covid. There will be a lot more to fear. You can see it building now.

        As mentioned throughout my comments. These are my options and of course you are entitled to yours.

  6. Avatar

    James

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Very easy.

    Don’t bother testing anyone.

    Just lie about the number of people dying.

    You then end up with very good statistics which of course no one believes.

  7. Avatar

    Anthony.

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 9:27 am

    This really isn’t hard to put together at all with just some simple connecting of the dots. All the research on Covid and Vit D is showing that Covid severity and deaths are linked to being Vit D deficient. There are over a dozen studies, all showing the exact same thing that 96-100% of those dying from Covid 19 are D deficient. The one Indonesian study even corrected for comorbidities and guess what…..yep the same exact pattern of D levels to Covid severity existed in patients within comorbidities….pretty powerful data. There is also now an interventional double blind study showing the exact same thing that Covid severity and death a tied to one’s D levels. And this didn’t come out of left field. Research on D in the last 15 yrs has shown it to be critical to immune function, specifically to activating T cells. Also a meta analysis of pre Covid studies showed higher rates of respiratory illnesses in those that were D deficient. And pre-Covid studies demonstrate D is crucial for proper endothelial function. And research since Covid is showing Covid kills through endothelial dysfunction, leading to clotting. Now going off the fact that research is showing Covid is a D deficiency issue, here is why Covid is such a non issue in Thailand: Pre-Covid studies show that Thailand has low rates of D deficiency. One study showed Thailand has some of the highest blood D levels in all of SE Asia. It really is that simple. Developed nations where Covid is a huge issue have huge rates of D deficiency due to a modern lifestyle out of the Sun. In the US, pre-Covid studies showed about 40% of whites were deficient and 70-80% of blacks are deficient. So something like D that is crucial for proper immune health and large swaths of the population are deficient…..how could one think this wasn’t going to be a huge issue? It really is the elephant in the room and Drs don’t want to talk about it. Mud in their face as they have been failures on D, basically ignoring the last 15 years of research on D and not testing their patients for deficiency. I know this for a fact….working in large hospital network, hardly any physicians in the US test for D. Such a shame….such a missed opportunity to save lives.

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