How to Improve an Early-Warning System for COVID-19 Prevention
PCR testing in public has the potential for an early-warning system to prevent the next wave of Covid-19. The trace of the virus, however, is becoming increasingly hard to detect in public, as more and more people are wearing masks. The early-warning system needs to improve its efficiency. Let’s follow logic thinking.
1. It is people that are producing the virus, especially those with suspected symptoms like cough or sneeze.
2. While coughing or sneezing, people are spreading a large number of droplets from their mouth and nose.
3. Most droplets are blocked by the masks on their wearers.
The conclusion is that masks should be a good source of virus. A simple plan is to place several bins at a public place. Each bin is accompanied by a box full of new masks. After coughing or sneezing, people should discard their masks into the nearest bin and take a new mask from the box. The discarded masks in a bin could be collected at a certain interval as PCR samples for testing.
The plan requires people’s cooperation. A more active approach is to deploy a team at a public place. The team collect PCR samples directly from people who have the symptoms like cough or sneeze or who have a fever detected by temperature measures.
Because our goal is to study the dynamic of local transmission for the prevention of further Covid-19 waves, there is no need to gather personal information from people. When their privacy is respected, people are normally willing to offer their samples.