This is a guide for best practices for stopping the spread of diseases (COVID-19, flu and other diseases.) We can maximize our economy, businesses and society while reducing disease.
Simple steps can reduce disease spread by up to 100 times. Masks, hourly hand cleaning , cleaning commonly touched surfaces like door knobs can reduce disease spread by well over 90% and filtering the air in rooms using box fans with MERV13 air filters. Limiting how many people are in the same building or rooms can make it easier to keep over 6 feet apart.
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If someone gets a contagious disease or has a temperature, then the best practice is for them to self quarantine for 14 days and to find out who they were with. Finding out who they were with is called Contact Tracing. For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
Studies by MIT and at the University of Arizona have found that spread of infection can be greatly reduced (up to 90%) with hourly hand cleaning versus the once every five hour or less level. Wryst is hand sanitizer dispenser that is worn on the palm side of your wrist. Frequent hand cleaning and sanitization are the top recommendations of the CDC (US Center for Disease Control and the WHO) – World Health Organization. The WHO has a 64 page hand hygiene guide which has decades of evidence and research used to increase hand hygiene at hospitals.
Financial Benefits for Countries, Regions and Cities
Goldman Sachs estimates that effective mask wearing can let the US and the world effectively control the disease with Sweden levels of restrictions. We know from other studies that frequent hourly hand cleaning combined with mask wearing can be over 50% more effective. Sweden was able to just cancel gatherings of over 50 people and reduce access to seniors and vulnerable citizens.
A team of economists lead by Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman, makes the case that a national face-mask mandate could partially substitute for renewed lockdowns, as COVID-19 inflections flare up in a number of southern and western states in the U.S., that would “otherwise subtract 5% from gross domestic product.”
Saving Your Business – Financial Benefits are Greater than the Costs
In the time of COVID-19 adopting the best hygiene standards will save money and potentially your business and as we saw above the economy. Having everyone wear face masks, face shields, have people cleaning their hands every hour and having temperature checks is prudent and will pay a return.
If it costs $1 per work day for easy hourly hand hygiene that halves the chance of disease spread this will pay for itself. About 2% of the US has tested positive for COVID-19 over seven months of the pandemic. There are estimates that 10% of the population has actually had COVID-19. This would mean over the next 6 months between 2-10% of your workforce would be expected to get COVID-19. If a worker found out they had a temperature they would need to quarantine for 14 days even if they had no symptoms. If they were sick and were not detected they could get 1 to 3 or more other workers sick. If there was masks and hourly hand hygiene then no one else might get sick. A person out sick for ten working days who could not effectively work remotely (like a factory worker) would cost the company $3000 if they made $300 per day. If they got ten other people sick, it could cost $30,000. Strict hygiene would reduce the spread down to zero or one other person instead of ten. The chance of one worker going out sick could be ten times less. The expected savings could be $2700 for one person or for the ten person outbreak case then $27000 would be saved.
If there were 1000 workers at the office or factory, you would expect 60 to get COVID-19 if 6% more people got it in the next 6 months. Good hygiene costing $20 per month would cost $120,000 for 6 months. This could reduce the sickness to 6 people. 54 people times $2700 would be $145800 with the chance of wider spread if people were sick and still went to work and gave it to others. Good hygiene and temperature checks mostly removes the risk of a major undetected outbreak.
Good hygiene will reduce sickness from the flu which costs the US economy about $100 billion per year. Flu season is starting now. Flu and COVID-19 both have elevated temperature as a key symptom. There is no uncertainty about 10-30% of your workers getting the flu. These are guaranteed costs if no action is taken. Steps against COVID-19 are also steps against flu.
Prevention against COVID-19 and flu is benefits are at least double the cost and situations could be far worse than a statistical average. There were outbreaks of 160 people among a thousand or so students in Mississippi in off-campus fraternities. 13 workers at a Costco in Sunnyvale tested positive. 18 people out of 65 who attended a wedding tested positive for COVID-19. 70 soldiers and trainees out of 500 assigned to the 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, tested positive for COVID-19 and over 140 soldiers and trainees assigned to the 30th AG Battalion and 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, tested positive at Fort Benning, Georgia. So 10-30% infection rate outbreaks are not uncommon. These incidents not only increase sick day costs by 10 times but would likely result in a shutdown of the entire facility and a lockdown of a county. A facility shutdown for a month could cost tens of millions of dollars and impact share prices.
It pays to use best practices against COVID-19.
SOURCES- CBS News, Task and Purpose
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.