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Corona Virus: Getting Back to Work Now not Later

Going forward with COVID19, we need to focus on getting back to work.


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Tealfeed Guest Blog

3 years ago | 4 min read

Right after 9/11 we were a bit dazed. It took us time to understand the threat and adapt. Markets and airlines were shut down. Then airlines got back online, but with lots of security. In time the national guard was removed. New scanners were deployed. We were back to normal. With an improved system.

Going forward with COVID19, we need to focus on getting back to work. Even with the threat of further transmission, we can not shut down the US economy for 18 months. Throwing money from helicopters has an appeal, but it does nothing for GDP or 401ks.

It seems we will have 3 phases

  • Phase 1: Knock back the progression, 3–4 weeks of extreme distancing
  • Phase 2: Bring key industries back on line using the best protection mechanisms
  • Phase 3: Ramp up the remainder of industry that can operate remote for now, but really should be back in offices

Phase1: Shock the System

Phase 1 is in progress. It will last another couple of weeks. Perhaps 4 more weeks. More data from the COVID tests will help us understand transmission. Medical professionals will figure out treatment. If you think we started phase 1 to late, there is an interesting model that suggests how a one-shot intervention induces a disproportionate impact on epidemic control. In a sense, a well-timed serious shock to the system is an effective way to snuff the virus. A bit like dropping a bomb on a forest fire to remove the oxygen.

Phase 2: Get Critical Industry Back to Work

With Phase 1 underway, we need to start planning for Phase 2. It would seem industrial supply companies like Grainger, Uline, Gojo, and 3M are pivotal to Phase 2. The practical reality, as proven in SARS, is that if everyone wears PPE it dramatically reduces progression. I get why the CDC said limit use of PPE to healthcare workers. A shortage of masks in Phase 1 means concentrate on healthcare workers. The government needs to be accountable for its failure to replenish the national stockpile after 2009 swine flu.

In reality, research over the 10 years suggests that Swine, Influenza and SARS have much more aerosol transmission. The spread is further than 6 feet. It stays in the air for a longer period. This aerosol is a means of transmission.

During SARS, and more recently in South Korea, massive use of PPE in the general population stopped the progression. There is still a probability of failure. PPE in a healthcare setting with perfect training is the gold standard. The less trained general population simply won’t achieve the same standard. But they will be 70% to 80% of the way there.

Even at a quality of 70%, the general population use cuts transmission materially. If you model PPE in the general population in with some level of social distancing, regular temperature checks, regular health questions and a few other measures, Ro will go down dramatically. If you implemented a layered approach, a set of workers could go back to work in key industries.

Focus on Industry Verticals

OSHA, FDA, hygiene companies (Gojo), PPE companies (3M) and industrial distribution companies (Grainger) should get together and configure a set of solutions for each key industry vertical. One for automotive. Another for airlines. Yet another for retail. Each industry might need a slightly different architecture. Working as a team though they could model equipment in conjunction with virus propagation in a work setting. They could consider human factors. Once they arrive at a solution they could say:

Here is the bill of materials and OSHA specification to operate in the automotive indsutry. OSHA and FDA have an online video that shows you how to use these face masks, googles and gloves

Factories could install IR temp sensors at points of entry. Health care professionals could be on-site to further double check usage. Using an iPhone app, the company could keep track of what shifts work when. If an outbreak occurs, medical professionals can quickly trace contacts.

To get ready for Phase 2 we need gear. We can't wait for cargo containers across the pacific. Send some C17s out to Cambodia and pick up the masks. Airdrop to factories in Detroit, Bentonville, and Seattle to get things moving.

The president could say “This week retail is back to work”, “Next week Auto is back to work”

This is not rocket science. We do not need congress to create a cumbersome bill. We need teamwork. Folks like the FDA need to shift their minds from saying alcohol based hand sanitizer is “unproven”. Instead, FDA should work with Gojo to validate that alcohol based sanitizer does kill COVID-19.

FDA, CDC and OSHA should collaborate to test how virus is curtailed with a system solution developed for each industry vertical by a team of companies like Gojo, Grainger, and 3M. Other solution oriented experts should join in on the effort to get each industry vertical safely back to work.

Entrepreneurship in academia, government, and enterprise is a force multiplier. America is at its best when it applies innovation. Helicopter money is old thinking. Put Military Airlift Command on the project with some great teamwork between industry and government. That will flank the virus and get the economy working.

This article was originally published by Carter williams on medium.

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