LIMIT THE SPREAD
Too much time on your hands these days? The same might be said of a group of researchers at the University of Cambridge in England. They have compiled an utterly exhaustive list of 275 non-medical options for reducing coronavirus transmission after official lockdowns end. The report is the result of a collaboration between the Biosecurity Research Initiative at St. Catherine’s College, Conservation Evidence at Cambridge, and the cheerfully-named Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge.
The authors of the report emphasize that policymakers should consider the cost, practicality, and fairness of these options, as well as their risk vs. reward profiles. The list of measures is organized into 5 categories:
- Physical isolation
- Reducing transmission through contaminated items
- Enhancing cleaning and hygiene
- Reducing spread through pets
- Restricting disease spread between areas
Many of the options are common sense and have already been implemented in places around the world. And, to a degree, a fair share of the ideas sound rather oppressive. However, others reflect innovative thinking that will enable a return to normalcy. Here are some of the group’s outside-of-the-box suggestions.
- Add prescriptions to outdoor activity (e.g. requirement to keep moving when out for exercise in Belgium).
- Use social media to formally ask people to identify their bubble – everyone they live with or must have contact with during “lockdown”—and ask people to stay as much as possible within their bubble.
- Offer bicycles to avoid public transport such as free use of rental bikes (e.g. in Prague)
- Design an app where individuals queue online, for example from cars outside a shop, and are told when their turn is.
- Design system so doors automatically shut once numbers exceed a given threshold as detected by phone signals.
Reducing transmission through contaminated items
- Develop no-plug charging for the next generation electric vehicle fleet and other appliances.
- Individuals bring their own tools, such as tongs to pick up grocery items and probes to input credit card PINs. Tool decontamination available at entry and exit.
Enhancing cleaning and hygiene
- Use vibrating wristband or computer applications to discourage people from touching their face (e.g. https://donottouchyourface.com/).
- Increase the availability of shower facilities at the workplace for health care workers, bus drivers, shop workers, etc.
- Use ultraviolet light to disinfect food, mail, money, and other objects.
Reducing spread through pets
- Keep pet cats indoors during outbreaks to prevent household to household transmission.
- Rescue, treat and rehome feral animals.
Restrict disease spread between areas.
- Conduct testing before international flights (see Emirates Airlines)
- Provide special passports for essential travel.