Opening Up the Economy: Containing the Spread of the Corona Virus in Public Spaces
Published 17/02/2021
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The nature of the Corona Virus has most of the scientific community bewildered. It gives flashbacks to The Contagion. But technology and scientific progress have come a long way since the movie was released. As of today, in a span of just 6 months, a lot of research has been done, and new methodologies for testing, measuring and disinfecting have been developed, all of which, when deployed sensibly, can help save multiple lives.
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Public spaces end up being the hotspot of infections, just because of the high volume of people there (when there are no lock-downs), and the big number of floating population. So if we were to measure the Corona Virus in PPM (parts per million), similar to other air pollutants, we could say that the PPM concentration of the virus in the air is higher in public spaces.

This is a fair comparison and way to look at the virus, since many studies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] have already asserted that the virus is airborne, and that even normal breathing can release a considerable quantity of the virus load into the atmosphere in the form of aerosols of varying sizes. These suspended droplets can travel much further than 6 feet, which means that the virus spread is not contained in the place where an infected person is. With a high number of people in any space, the combined effect of multiple infected people could be that the entire enclosed space has a high concentration of the virus aerosols.

Considering this nature of the spread of the virus, a few new innovations can help drastically contain the spread of the virus and test people who could be potentially infected. To open up the economy, it is important to adopt measures that proactively contain the spread of the virus. Failing this, the economy can go into a downward spiral. If people have fear of infection, they will not go out. If they don't go out, businesses can't run, people can't work, economy goes down.

Instant Testing of the Virus
The Israeli "Breathalyzer" could be the answer to more testing, instant testing, and more accurate testing all rolled into one. Instead of the usual methods, they use the nano size of corona virus aerosols to measure the presence of the virus in someone's breath using spectroscopy. The test contraption tests the sample for frequency of vibration, which is known to be in the terahertz spectral range of for the corona virus. The virus aerosol behaves as a nano particle, with size between 100-140 nm. This makes it detectable using knowledge from spectroscopy.

The test is instantaneous and has 90% accuracy rate, which is way higher than the swab tests and antibody tests. The other up side is that if there are too many swabs to be tested, the samples get old before they can be tested, and the virus is no longer properly detectable through the swab. Antibodies take time to manifest in a person who has the infection, and hence can give false negatives for those who are asymptotic and haven't developed antibodies against the virus yet.

If the Breathalyzer can be installed as a testing station or manually managed testing kiosk in public spaces, like airports, bus stations, subways, food courts, schools, university buildings etc, it can immensely help in promptly giving treatment and quarantine to infected persons, with minimal disruption to normal activity. The mass production of the device is estimated to start in Sept-Oct 2020...

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