Updated: Dec 26, 2020
As the world continues to struggle with the pandemic, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccine programs offer hope, and current predictions suggest the most vulnerable should hopefully be covered by Easter. Protecting this part of society, would free up our NHS capacity to treat other urgent conditions and increase efficiency again. This, in turn, will allow government to relax on some of the restrictive measures, which have prevented people mixing and businesses operating.
But, it's clear that things will never be quite the same. It will be over a year before all the population is vaccinated, and the issue of long-term immunity remains unclear. We have had to learn quickly the importance of hygiene and clean air in our indoor hospitality and work areas.
There are two things which may allow us to proactively push the agenda for re-opening the hospitality sector and securing its long-term viability: rapid Covid testing and air purification.
Rapid Covid tests have received mixed reviews, yet when the data is scientifically analysed, they have been shown to pick up approximately 95% of asymptomatic cases with a high viral load, when spreading the disease is more likely. They are cheap, quick (10-15 minutes) and allow immediate and repeated screening. The alternative tests, such as PCR, require expensive laboratories and have delayed results, so do not reflect the current risk. In addition, they can be positive long after people are no longer infectious which can sometimes mean unnecessary quarantine for the individual and their contacts.
Aerosol spread is now accepted as a major danger in transmission, hence the second waves in colder winter months, when we congregate indoors. We need to examine how to improve and purify the air we breathe, learning from the Asian countries who have been battling similar viruses for over a decade.
The government has the impossible task of issuing guidance, which protects the vulnerable, protects the NHS, but recognises the mental health and significant financial implications of lockdowns, restrictions and impositions on our everyday life. It's easy to criticise, but for those with knowledge of all the issues, there is no perfect solution. The government and their scientific and medical advisors are asking the country to innovate, trial and report on strategies to open up the country.
It's only by showing we can change and deliver that can we push the agenda and open up the debate.
Many pubs can now open if they serve food, however serving food in itself doesn't make you or others any safer! Covid testing does...and seems a better way forward to me!
By showing this can be delivered in a practical, efficient and acceptable way, it could, perhaps, lead to changes in the requirements to social distance, and increased capacity in bars, restaurants, cinemas, sports events (as well as places of work and other hospitality).
Demonstrating you can deliver clearer, safer air, with the required air changes, or air flow, will also help. If your air purification system helps to actually deactivate Covid too, that's even better.
I'm sure this will be the future, as there will be other pathogens, pollutants and more. Unless this is addressed now, businesses will be behind the curve, when these requirements become mandatory, as I suspect they will.
At Breathe Assured, we have already trialled testing programmes at care homes (allowing face to face visiting for the first time in 9 months), in pubs and restaurants. We have introduced air purifiers in medical clinics, shops and other establishments. We are keen to help deliver further trials and programmes to help the UK hospitality industry in its discussions with the government regarding a pragmatic and evidence led solution to reopen the sector. If you wish to discuss any ideas, we believe we have solutions which will help.
Please email me if you would like to chat further..... email@example.com