Virus transmission - Public education and engagement

The predominant guidance for the response to the virus so far has been stay at home and maintain 2m separation. With understanding of the virus and discussion of the basic principles of how a virus transmits, we know that a blanket 2m separation is a simplification. The recommendation is that we embark on a public education and encouragement to take action to minimise transmission of the virus by simple actions. Things that we can do in our everyday lives, but also highlight the risk areas, which are perhaps not obvious of publicly highlighted. Transmission is everything, and the suggestion is that the word and all potential means of transmission enter the public conciousness to get more people onboard and by their actions, sometime small, help the fight to contain the virus. Fundamentally it's a risk based approach, but geared towards getting everyone to join in and become better at getting the R-value as low as possible! We know that the transmission risks involved with keeping 2m away from someone in a room for 3 hours is clearly hugely higher than passing someone in the street on a windy day where you're close for 5 seconds. The public need to be advised that time is a critical dimension which also includes the exertion that the parties involved is under. If someone is cyclic energetically past you they are clearly presenting a higher risk, or if there are running hard, talking on the phone, done to the lowest risk of someone slowly walking past you with mouth closed breathing through their nose. There is inevitably a 'plume' around a person of virus particles, the more energetic and heavy breathing/coughing/sneezing the bigger it is, so lets inform the public that 2m is a MINIMUM distance. Perhaps we need to therefore change away from "social distancing' to 'physical distancing', a greater distance based on how much exertion the person is doing. There is no block and white it's all about minimising risk and "every little bit helps!" Should cyclists or runners wear masks if running past people in the street? Maybe, but perhaps it should come as a softer approach of "strong recommendations" and encouragement, otherwise there may be a backlash against it. Shopping is the other aspect, i discard the clothes i wear into a separate room for 3 days after shopping, wash any plastic containers for perishables (i.e milk cartons) before putting them in the fridge and leave non-perishables to stand for a few days to minimise the risk. Is this obssessive or is it prudent? One thing for sure if we plant the seed and encourage people to do it, again the transmission rate will edge down. Even if 5% of the public do this, surely it will help. Shopping must also surely recommend gloves and hat to take the transmission risk down ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practical).

Why the contribution is important

Transmission rate is at the very heart of this current crisis. The suggestion is to educate the public not just to obey a 'safe distance; but look at many other aspects where the virus can be passed on or picked up. Eduction of the means of transmission and most important minimising the risk is the big message. Industry performs risk assessments, why can we not enable the public to do something similar? What it take is a big, coordinated and simple message across a range of media platforms and encourage to get people onboard rather than hard enforcement, with a view to trying to return to normality as soon as practical.

by Spottydog on May 10, 2020 at 11:36PM

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