Terminating transmission: emerging best practice in covid adaptation

Published on 07/09/20 | Written by Dr Andrew Larner, Chief Executive at iESE

The rapidly rising numbers of Covid cases herald a more difficult time ahead.  But there is hope in the waves of Covid related research being undertaken around the world.  The estimates time to develop a vaccine vary, but even the most optimistic is more than a year to allow for production and distribution.  So, we had better get good at taking that research and turning it into practical solutions that allow our environment to adapt to Covid.

Amongst all the detail of the Prime Minister’s announcement last week was a message that employers, where homeworking isn’t possible, were responsible for ensuring their workplaces are secure against Covid.  But in an environment where the national testing system isn’t working for those on the front line nor for those with symptoms, what does that actually mean?

Every type of environment, school, office, exhibition centre, needs its design.  We need to consider that design in the way we do any other service; human centred.  If we put the child, the office worker, the exhibition attendee at the centre, we would not only make the environment safe but easy to use.  Or in the case of the pub-goer we won’t just make it easy to use, we will make it safe.  Research is changing what this means in practice by the week, but the two key principles are to eliminate surface-to-human transmission and human-to-human transmission.

It is simple to eliminate surface-to-human transmission, but in the UK we don’t. Yes, we do apply chemicals to kill Covid through fogging or other means, but between cleans there is an infection gap.  The same is true of hands. It stops transmission, increases social distancing and saves money so it’s a surprise that we haven’t done so already.

Eliminating human-to-human transmission is more difficult, social distancing and face masks are both essential, but what if your mask didn’t just reduce the viral load transmitted? But instead killed it?  What if there was an accurate Covid test with a unit price of $2 which could be administered at home?  These things are possible, and they will be game changers.

As a sector we need to lead the adoption of best practice for the benefit of our communities and we are trusted to solve some of the privacy issues.

If you are interested in learning more, watch our Ted-Talk on current and emerging worldwide best practice in adapting to Covid.

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