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.
The following concept, involving the use of negative ions (created by negative ion generators), has the potential to greatly limit the airborne transmission of Covid-19 in health care facilities, indoor work settings of all types, waiting areas, public modes of transportation, etc.
In a nutshell, the negative ions weigh down any particulates in the air (including microorganisms) and cause them to fall to the ground. Furthermore, there is research which indicates that negative ions can kill viruses outright. If the negative ions from negative ion generators can indeed have these effects, they have great potential for limiting the exposure of people in buildings to any airborne Covid-19 in the area. It is the indoor environment where the threat from airborne transmission is the highest, as Covid-19 does not do well in sunlight or in hot temperatures.
Negative ion generators have been in existence for many years and manufacturers have made various improvements to them. They have been mentioned very sparsely during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the reported benefits. Despite their negligible use, to date, there is sufficient research available to suggest that active consideration of them as a viable weapon against Covid-19 is merited. If a respected entity concludes that these devices could indeed be a significant contribution in the fight against Covid-19, I would envision that high capacity units that do not emit ozone could be installed in the settings as mentioned above. It may not be feasible to place devices in every room of various buildings, but at least hallways and public areas should be considered. Studies could be performed which look at the infection rate at health care facilities with the devices and those without the devices.
All we need at this stage is for someone to confirm whether or not the overall concept has merit and, if so, initiate efforts for mass production and distribution. If this were to take place, all types of health care settings, work settings and entertainment/dining settings would be much safer for the people who work there. They would also increase public confidence in the safety of such settings and, in turn, increase public patronage at such sites. And that will be a tremendous boost to the economy.
The following are some pertinent links to help consider this concept:
Successful study with viruses: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep11431
Ionizer destroys acinobacter in hospital: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3228-air-ionisers-wipe-out-hospital-infections/
An aircraft ionization system: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2015-10-09/ionization-system-removes-pathogens-cabin-air
Active against Salmonella: https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2000/mar/salm
A listing of studies compiled by a manufacturer: https://www.surroundair.com/negative-ions/
Effective against Newcastle virus: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2130090/pdf/jhyg00043-0066.pdf
Effective with viruses:
Role with antibody treatment:
Use in hospitals:
Example of Bipolar ionization:
Plasmacluster ions – effective against viruses:
A few available products:
Support in Scotland:
Nonthermal Plasma Reactor (Cold Plasma) – an advancec negative ion generator – Effective against viruses:
This discusses only ozone: http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2020-02/26/content_75747237_4.htm ; https://www.ozonepartner.com/poultry