Looking back at previous epidemics and pandemics of infectious diseases, there are many possible outcomes of our current situation. Currently, scientists are studying the 1918 influenza pandemic amongst others and modelling the next potential steps for the UK with this information in mind.
It is important we learn from historical data, but we can only make educated guesses about what how the COVID-19 pandemic will develop. It is very plausible that there will be a second wave of coronavirus, however correctly predicting this requires the development and correct use of incredibly complicate computer models. Scientists must look at everything from vaccination options, social behaviours and current health policies in order to build up a bigger picture of the virus and how to combat it safely.
Why second or multiple-wave outbreaks occur is a central pillar in the work of epidemiologists. Pandemic management requires careful monitoring of previous similar cases, as well as determining whether herd immunity can develop without huge loss of life.
In the case of COVID-19, The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that now is the time for preparation, not celebration. This strongly suggests a second wave of coronavirus is expected, and we should do all we can to prepare for this occurrence.
We have already experienced the shocking initial results of the coronavirus pandemic. In the UK, nearly 40,000 people have died, and long term damage to our economy and society has occurred due to huge numbers of businesses failing and unemployment rising to unprecedented levels.
Alongside these outcomes, coronavirus has likely had an effect on the mental health of many people in our communities. Not being able to see friends and family can seriously damage human well-being if it occurs over a long period of time. To help those with anxiety, preparing our environments adequately through disinfection and correct air ventilation is a necessary step.
People with existing health conditions may not be able to access the care they require, with many cancer units being closed and treatments being paused. Although fatality rates are exceptionally high from the disease itself, many people are dying as a secondary result of not obtaining correct health care for other conditions.
The significant problem with COVID-19 is the level of contagiousness. One single contact with an infected person can endanger an entire community. This is known as a ‘small-world’ effect by scientists, and simply means as individuals, we are connected with others more than we realise.
Because it is so contagious, we need to combat it in many ways – not just through social distancing or isolation but by considering and adapting our buildings and the design of our enclosed spaces.
Lowering our exposure to large groups of people is the first necessary step. As the disease can spread quickly from one person, and subsequently travel back to various areas through these people, we must avoid large crowds and gatherings.
The second step currently in discussion and action is the development of testing. To test and track and individual is a crucial concept in fighting the battle against coronavirus. Health authorities need to have the knowledge of who and where is housing this disease in order to prevent it spreading any further. Currently, apps are being developed to help make this a reality.
Thirdly, we must follow the protocol as set out by Government. The focus on deep cleaning, handwashing, self-isolating if you are unwell, avoiding public transport and working from home if possible are all key in the battle against COVID-19.
Alongside these precautions, we can take other measures such as improving our homes with suitable air ventilation.
If we live in more populated areas such as flats and high-rise buildings, we need to make sure the air flow in our homes and communal spaces is monitored and adapted through the implementation of HVAC that is designed to minimise our exposure to deadly pathogens.
The coronavirus has turned our economy upside down. Apart from key workers, many employees are working from home, or are furloughed as their employers struggle to survive.
As businesses and governments devise the next steps to eventually get back to a ‘new normal’, we must look at the potential strategies for managing the health and safety of our population.
Adaption of the environments in which we live and work is crucial for the prevention of infectious diseases such as coronavirus. Because the virus is spread through contaminated droplets, it is essential we follow strict rules to minimise contamination – such as deep cleaning surfaces, one-way walking systems in offices and PPE if required.
One step business’ can take to prepare for a second wave of coronavirus is ensuring their air supply is as clean and free from contaminants as possible. Technologies such as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) can be used to disinfect surfaces and air in enclosed spaces.
Using ultra-violet light technology in HVAC systems to destroy harmful airborne viruses is a highly effective method of stopping the cycle of transmission. UVGI is already used in the meat and dairy industry to kill bacteria in our foodstuff, and over the past 20 years has been developed to be used in buildings to make our air and surfaces disinfected safely.
We can use this time to make sure our air circulation and ventilation systems are working at top efficiency. It is a legal requirement to ventilate commercial and public buildings with fresh air, whilst filtering out pollutants. Keeping spaces well ventilated has been proven to stop the spread of harmful bacteria that is airborne.
The humidity level of our indoor spaces must also be monitored. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, viruses like COVID-19 thrive in less humid atmospheres as the cells are more able to suspend in the air as opposed to drop down. Crystallised microbiomes also live longer, therefore creating higher and extended risk to humans – this happens in spaces which are not held at humidity levels between 40% and 60%.
Air purification methods are an important part of the battle against coronavirus. Ensuring we have clean, filtered and virus- free air filtered around our places of work, educational facilities and healthcare centres is crucial in maintaining maximum levels of health and wellbeing during our current crisis and to prepare for any second waves of the virus.
If you would like to find out more about the variety of air purification technologies that can be used in your buildings, please contact us to discuss this. We have a range of air purification strategies that can be developed from scratch or work in addition to your existing systems.
You can get in touch with us by calling on 01202 554 200 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org