Why I am no longer talking about COVID-19

Simple.

I’ve found out just about everything that I wanted find out, for myself. The NAM/APHA webinars have also started to repeat themselves. I don’t think they already know everything there is to know about whether getting infected confers permanent immunity, but we’ll learn that in due course.

There is a massive effort underway to develop vaccines and treatments and the huge sums of money that are being pumped into it means that the development process is sped up immensely. I saw a graph last week that illustrated that very well.

I regret that animal models – proverbial “lab rats”- are still being used to test treatments and vaccines. A truly sophisticated society would have no need for that.

When I am in “scientist mode”, I tend to forget that me feeling that there is nothing left for me to contribute in this area – I mean, people have finally caught up on the droplet stuff and the purpose of wearing face coverings – is not necessarily true in a broader sense.

(I like being on the cutting edge of developments and like having momentum, so I have a tendency to transfer momentum to something else once the momentum in one area runs out. A very practical example of that is not getting bogged down by the various hiccups we experienced during the installation of an ICP-MS in a new lab, years ago. I couldn’t just sit down, wait and do nothing. It occasionally meant we were stuck. I transferred the momentum. I arranged for the lab’s Mac to get an upgrade. I had a different card installed which was also very useful, but the kind of thing that easily gets ignored when you have something much bigger in focus.)

There will still be people who I can help by translating some of the science into plain English, for example, or with whom I can walk through a building to identify bottlenecks with them and find solutions.

I could do this in a Skype, Zoom or Telegram video session or I could travel to places like Basingstoke, Littlehampton, Andover, Salisbury and Winchester.

One way of dealing with COVID-19 measures is to turn them into positive experiences. What do I mean by that? Supermarkets and other places are already supplying hand sanitizer etc. If you have a long waiting line, why not get a busker to entertain people? Not all the time, but say, between five and six every day. This could be any kind of busker, does not have to be a musician. Someone to entertain your customers and put a smile on their faces.

You don’t catch COVID-19 from smiling. 

Worse, I’ve been dreading the end of lockdown measures because during the strict lockdown, people were much friendlier and much more considerate. The occasional jackass who pretended there was no line quickly got sent to the end of the line and his loud muttering ignored by everyone who was waiting to be allowed into the supermarket. Aggressive behaviours were suddenly not done. Bliss!

Let’s keep some of that, shall we? 

Supermarkets could also have a few umbrellas to hand out to people standing in line in the rain. (Yes, disinfection needed.)

I also remind people that cleaning is not needed of any surfaces that go unused for 7 days or longer. So instead of cleaning, in some cases, you may be able to set up a rotation system, with for example objects being used by one (different) person only each day and different objects for each of the 5, 6 or 7 days of the week that get stored for a week. In some cases, in which cleaning might be complicated or simply too much work, this may be a solution.

This could be a solution for libraries, for example, to allow limited lending again. It is hard to clean books swiftly without damaging them. Patrons would not get access to the lending materials, but staff would instead collect items from the shelves and hand them over. Any materials that are returned can be left on a cart for a week to be returned to the shelf without risk to staff after that week.