It never rains
The ultimate golden bullet for getting out of lockdown is to get a system of contact tracing in place. So that once someone has the virus, they and their contacts can be traced and isolated.
The system has been run relatively successfully in South Korea for 2 months. Here there has been no lockdown and under 300 deaths since the pandemic began.
To run a similar system in the UK requires a mobile phone based app, and a staff of people skilled in this sort of work. It also requires an ability to undertake large scale testing. We probably have that in place now with over 100,000 capacity per day. However the app is still in testing on the Isle of Wight. The skilled workforce it has been suggested, could be local Environmental Health Officers.
Once reason why they may not be able to come out in force to do this work is another emerging problem. Legionnaires Disease.
This morning Mendip District Council issued a warning that any water systems lying dormant during the COVID-19 emergency are likely to have increased levels of bacteria present, which means there’s a heightened risk of Legionnaires’ Disease.
Business owners will need to check and maintain their systems now and for the duration of the lockdown. However with the Prime Minister issuing a call to return to work last night this becomes important. And imminent
Members of the Council’s environmental health team will be kept busy contacting shops and offices, hairdressers, hotels, pubs and restaurants, sports centres, gyms, residential buildings and any campsites currently shut down.
Ironically Legionnaires Disease is very similar to COVID 19. It is a type of pneumonia, a lung infection you catch by inhaling droplets of water from the likes of air conditioning units, shower heads or hot tubs. It’s not a common disease, but it can be very serious.
- Guidance and procedures by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease on how to best manage Legionellain building water systems during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: www.escmid.org/fileadmin/src/media/PDFs/3Research_Projects/ESGLI/COVId_buidling_water_system_guidance_27_3_20_v4_DS_pk.pdf