A controlled and knowledge based way to commence stepping out of lockdown, a Pathfinder group

Create a volunteer group of young people aged 18 to 27 to act as sentinels of Covid It is a standard procedure in certain circumstances on farms to send in young animals into an environment to test the disease status of that environment. They are called sentinels. They are also ‘Pathfinders’ of the population’s return, other age groups follow into the suspect environment after them. As Covid is a risk which is similar to other risks e.g road traffic accidents for 18 to 27 year olds as group : it may well be possible to create a volunteer group which could be used in Scotland. The purpose of this group is:- (a) to assess the disease status of an area. (b) to allow one sector of society more freedom. They are free to move provided they perform correct biosecurity practices (c) For these volunteers to either go back to work or perform paid voluntary work for the government. (d) These volunteers would be registered and agree to be tested on regular basis and be willing to be called in to be tested A statistician and epidemiologist are needed to finalise details of ages and sampling. The chances of people of certain ages getting so sick they need hospitalisation are now well characterised. Thus in theory provided they did not go and meet older people you could allow adults 18+ to about 27 years of age to go about freely. They would not be selected if they live with folk 70 years of age + ) The practical difficulties are a challenge (a) the government would have to explain and refine the age choices. (there may not be much difference between adjacent years risk). (b) there would be a challenge of registration. So folk might only be allowed out of they could prove their age and register. (c) these young folk going out would have to act responsibly. (d) they should not go round to meet infected folk. (e) not go in large groups e.g more than 10. (f) those in other age groups might be jealous of their freedom. The reasoning is to be explained by government. (g) They would have to practice good biosecurity actions on returning home so as to reduce the risk of them infecting folk at home. However if they were given their 'freedom' on the understanding that they would act responsibly and the eyes of the country are on them it might be worth a try. The could be called the 'Pathfinder generation ' group . They could be asked to either return to work or perform voluntarily work. i.e a quid pro quo ,we are letting you out on the basis that you contribute to society. ' don't mess up your opportunity' As part of their registration the Pathfinders would be in regular contact by Mobile email with a ‘Biosecurity Unit’ of the Scottish NHS. This unit will regularly ask a significantly relevant proportion of the Pathfinders to coe in for antigen or antibody testing. Obviously if any contract Covid they have to go back and isolate for 7 days and the household for 14 days.

Why the contribution is important

If it is possible to overcome the technical challenge (1) This will significantly reduce the pressure of lockdown (b) the Pathfinder group will obtain for the government very useful epidemiological evidence immediately relevant to Scotland. (c) There is always a risk in moving away from lockdown. This age group has the least risk. It is responsible action. But they still need to volunteer. (d) This group will be the mentors of the other age groups on how to move out of lock down. (e) the work the Pathfinders will perform whether it is their own job or as a volunteer (ie fruit picker) should benefit the economy

by Phoebe on May 10, 2020 at 07:56PM

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  • Posted by andy1950 May 10, 2020 at 20:18

    As a healthy sixty nine year old with no underlying conditions that would make me more vulnerable to the worst effects of Covid19 than the average person, I would find this an unacceptable proposition . I addition to that, I'm not convinced that it would be a particularly helpful strand to an exit strategy.
  • Posted by MikeJohnston May 10, 2020 at 20:32

    If nothing else, this idea can stimulate debate. In the world wars, many youngsters lied about their age to enlist in the armed services. They were heros. Wee problem is that getting out does not have many attractions - pubs shut, pals still locked up etc. But altogether an idea worth discussion by the 'high-heid-yins' on TV. (Where is Kirsty Wark when we need her?)
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