I hope to have about a dozen posts here, each with this same introductory statement of a few paragraphs before I get to an idea presentation. My position is that each side of the reopening issue has valid points. On the one hand, the more in which close, interpersonal contact takes place in a reopening (even with masks, which are flawed), the greater is the prospect of a resurgence of Covid-19 and an increase in deaths. And such a resurgence would lead to another drive for shutdowns. On the other hand, the country will simply fall apart if we do not begin to reopen or, if upon reopening, we were to again be forced to comply with a drive for new shutdowns as a result of a resurgence. Many lives have already been ruined and there is only so much that the economy can take.
Of course, we would not be facing such a dilemma if we had a vaccine or a cure. In such a situation, a reopening would be rapid and there would be no turning back. But we don’t have a cure or vaccine, leaving us back with our uncomfortable choices.
Despite the flaws that can be seen in both paths, I believe a new path should be aggressively pursued, one which would actually take into account the concerns of both sides. This path would have two prongs: (1) greatly reduce the prospect of the contact transmission and airborne transmission of Covid-19 by exploring some existing technologies from a new angle; and (2) exploring ways in which people could be made less susceptible in having a severe outcome if they got infected. In other words, I believe there are far more effective ways in which to protect people from Covid-19 (and future pandemic organisms) than the standard ones of hand washing, standing six feet apart, setting up acrylic barriers and wearing masks (tactics which should be maintained). In fact, I believe there are ways in which substantial protection can be provided concurrent with the closer contact between people which will inevitably come with a reopening, even in restaurants and on airplanes.
I will admit that some of my ideas would cost a tidy sum to implement. There is no way around it. However, in a world where trillions of dollars have already been allocated, I think these concepts, in totality, would be among the few that would directly apply to Covid-19 and would have the greatest impact on it.
Please not that in the following idea I have simply made an observation and expanded upon it. I hope you will find that I have presented a concept which is rational and logical. Of course, there may be flaws of which I am not aware, but we should work on overcoming them and not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
The idea follows.
In the current situation with Covid-19, it has become difficult for people to buy hand cleansers and multiple gloves to carry along with them. Thus, when people go to work or shop and conduct other daily activities, there is a high probability that their hands will come into contact with virus laden surfaces and thus transfer the viruses to other surfaces (or themselves).
Keeping this in mind, I invite you to examine the links (below) which my casual research uncovered. As you will see, they discuss the invention by various entities of coatings for use on various items (handrails, medical equipment, etc.), which can essentially kill viruses on contact, or at least within a very short period of time. Other coatings of a similar nature exist or are currently being developed.
My idea to counter the problem of the contact transmission of Covid-19 reverses the usage intent of the invented coatings. They were all designed specifically to coat surfaces which people would likely touch with a bare (or even gloved) hand. It would be practically impossible to retrofit all touchable surfaces which exist around us with these coatings. So, why not put the coatings on the hands of the ones who touch things (basically everybody)?
Just imagine if a virus-killing coating could be applied to a multi-use, durable glove which a person could attach to a hook on a belt for easy access on their daily routine. Again, such gloves would be durable and made for steady, constant use. In whatever design is chosen, the virus-killing coating would at least be on the palm surface (the entire outer surface would be ideal). It wouldn't hurt to also coat the inner surface. Although people should avoid touching with any bare skin the outer surface of standard Latex gloves once they have been used in the public realm, they are not always be able to follow this dictate and the entire purpose for wearing the gloves (no personal contact) is defeated. Also, they often wear Latex gloves all day long, potentially transferring a virus from one location to another. However, in the proposed glove with the special coating, since any virus that got onto its surface would had almost assuredly been killed in short order by the surface's coating, the overall risk for any transmission to the user by accidental touching would be minimal. Such gloves would also result in a greatly reduced virus spread from and between surfaces, such as: gasoline pump handles; door handles; scanners; keypads; pens; counter tops; tables; etc. For example, if a person with one of these gloves grabs a gasoline pump handle, a virus on the handle could get on the glove. There it would be killed in short order. When the person then goes to a big box store and uses a scanner, he will not transmit any live virus which may have hitched a ride from the gas pump handle. And so on. In contrast, if a person used traditional (and difficult to find) Latex gloves, we could not rely upon them to properly remove and replace the gloves after performing various tasks as discussed in the preceding. They would accidentally end up contaminating various objects, and themselves, without realizing it.
In essence, this concept eliminates the need to change gloves constantly or change gloves in a precise manner to prevent contact transmission from surface to surface or from a surface to the wearer. The virus-killing surface effectively assumes that responsibility. This is not meant to interfere with the current gloving procedures in medical facilities. With a considerable reduction in contact transmission, everywhere (if a broad distribution of gloves is effected), Covid-19 will have, for all intents and purposes, lost one of its two routes of transmission. Consequently, a rapid and huge reduction in infections. To be effective, gloves would need to be mass produced and made available to everyone, for free. Furthermore, businesses, schools, etc. would need to deny access to anyone who is not wearing these gloves. Yes, that would be a massive endeavor, but the country cannot remain shut down forever.
Ultimately, this idea would require someone to coordinate with the national government with the goal of them putting out bids for manufacturing them.
Here are the links mentioned above: