Coronavirus: The Basic Dance Steps Everybody Can Follow

Part 2 of Coronavirus: Learning How to Dance

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Source: Sneezing and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Journal of the American Medical Association
  1. Somewhat expensive measures that might be necessary in some cases, such as travel bans and limits on social gatherings
  2. Expensive measures that might not always be necessary during the dance, such as blanket school and business closures
  3. Medical capacity

Masks

As we saw in the first article, masks are widely used in East Asia: China, South Korea and Taiwan, but also Hong Kong and now Singapore. But these are not the only countries that trust masks. As of April 22nd, 2020, 51 countries mandate them in some public activities, including countries such as Germany or Taiwan. That’s over 25% of all countries:

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Detail of every country’s measures, thanks to Mask4All team

The Science of How the Coronavirus Spreads

Respiratory infections use your mouth and nose to spread through three mechanisms:

  • “Aerosols”: very small particles that mix with the air and can remain there for hours
  • Surfaces: for example, you cough on your hand and use a door knob that somebody else touches afterwards
This video illustrates droplet clouds, and how they can move much farther than 2 meters without falling
This video illustrates research done around droplets, droplet clouds, and how they might infect people
Researchers measured the velocity of coughs. Even a meter away from the mouth, droplets in the center of the cough cloud are moving at about a meter per second (green). These speeds suggest keeping six feet distance from other people may not be enough to prevent the virus from spreading in a cough.
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Source: screenshot from one of the previous videos, showing a droplet cloud
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Note: This is just one measure of whether masks work or not. There are many more measures. For a much more thorough review, see the paper: https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0203/v1
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Source: LaVision

Everybody should wear a home-made mask: You can infect other people before you know you’re sick.

How much can we reduce R through masks? Quite a lot.

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  1. The density
  2. The number of layers
  3. The Combination of layers
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Note: don’t use vacuum cleaner bags. They can release tiny glass shards that you can later inhale.
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  • Most people are infectious before they even know they’re sick
  • Wearing masks prevents sick people from infecting others by keeping their droplets inside the mask
  • They also protect healthy people from being infected
  • You can have 100% of your population wear house-made masks within a matter of a few days
  • If a majority of people wear house-made masks that are reasonably effective, that measure alone could stop the epidemic
  • It’s one of the cheapest things any country — or person — can do
  • Given the cost (nothing) and the benefit (huge), mandating them is a no-brainer.

Physical Distancing, Hygiene, and Public Education

Now that we know that the virus spreads through cough, droplet clouds, surfaces, or even speaking, we know to wear masks. However, not everybody might wear them, or they might not be perfect. We can limit contagions in other ways too, simply by changing our day-to-day behavior and our environment.

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Feature on social distancing measures in Nanjing from foreign reporters
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Extracted from the previous video. Source: Coronavirus: From 93 infected to 0, what did this Chinese City do to contain the virus?
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  • Those who can work from home, should. Especially those who need to take public transit, or those who are in a vulnerable group, such as older people or those with co-morbidities.
  • There should be hand sanitizer everywhere, and the office should be cleaned very frequently.
  • Avoid physical meetings. If they need to happen, avoid too many people in the room staying close to one another for too long. Ten-person meetings that last an hour are not a good idea. Whiteboarding with co-workers for long periods of time might not be a great idea either.
  • Don’t work face-to-face
  • Structure entries so that crowds become impossible
  • Have hand sanitizer in elevators, or tissues and a trash can so people can press the button with it instead of their hands
  • Create physical barriers where needed. If people might be tempted to lean on them, try to make it so it’s inconvenient, and have signage that forbids it.
  • Whenever possible, create different shifts and split workers across them.
  • Canteens should move to takeaway. Eating time should be extended so that people don’t crowd in the same area.
  • Try to avoid mixing different networks inside the company. Teams that always work together and don’t hang out with others be less likely to be infected from other networks that have carriers.
  • Obviously, anybody with symptoms should immediately leave and get tested, and all contacts should be monitored or quarantined.
  • For that, it might help to keep track of all work-related contacts. One way of doing that is to mark every interaction with people on the calendar.
  • For other types of working environments, such as logistics, in-home, or outdoors, here are some other recommendations.
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Source: Madeline Marshall/Nicole Finateri/Vox
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Children’s television I China has become awash with social distancing messages like this one, causing a child of the author to declare in recent weeks, “I hate these new commercials.” PHOTO by Christopher Thomas. Via ThinkGlobalHealth.
Tweet from Bob Wachter, of the UCSF hospital system, one of the best in the world, showing the huge spike in healthcare video visits that they have received since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic. Over half of their visits are now remote.

Temperature Checks?

The last measure that we’ll cover today is temperature checks.

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Conclusion

There are things that can be done by citizens, businesses and governments to have a massive impact in reducing the transmission rate of the coronavirus. Everybody should be doing them:

  • Wash hands.
  • Avoid spending a long time close to people who are speaking or singing.
  • Avoid parties and other social gatherings, especially if they are with people from other social groups.
  • Keep your distance from people. At the very least 2 meters. Ideally more. Don’t sit in front of people.
  • Change the environment of your business to make it much harder for people to interact with each other.

Written by

2 MSc in Engineering. Stanford MBA. Ex-Consultant. Creator of applications with >20M users. Currently leading a billion-dollar business @ Course Hero