It’s been noted that ‘without plumbing, there is no civilisation’. We take for granted that we have running clean water and sewers to remove our excrement from our environment. Letting excrement build up in one location is a sure-fire way for disease to spread, and we have billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure to remove and treat sewage to keep everyone healthy. It’s easily summed up in a simple imperative: Don’t shit where you eat.
These days a new type of excretion is contaminating our environment. As they breathe, Covid19-infected individuals shed viral particles everywhere they go – filling the air with trillions of pathogens that could infect anyone who inhales them.
The community now acknowledges that facemasks help (after too long of a fight), however this is only step one of mitigation – wearing diapers is a good first attempt at toilet hygiene, but even toddlers know that flushing away your waste is as important as not getting it on your shoes.
Although Covid is airborne, this too can be remediated. In the same manner that we flush away contaminated water, we can refresh the air that we breathe indoors, venting it to the outside as we draw in fresh air. We need a continuous flow of running-air for us to breathe, and plumbing to eject it safely away from buildings’ occupants.
The war against Covid in Australia has been thoroughly half-assed.
The fact that I have not seen any advice to the effect of ‘open a window’ demonstrates as much. Stand 1.5 metres away from your colleagues, and ignore that you can still smell the cigarettes on their breath from across the room.
In the first months of the crisis I had expected to see new advancements to protect everyone from Covid, along with other pathogens of a similar nature. Buildings with complex ventilation systems would have UV disinfection running continuously within air ducts. Roombas with the same would roam workspaces after-hours. Shop fronts would all have their doors open.
Hotel quarantine, which may have been a good stop-gap, helped to isolate return travellers, but the gap has since turned to a gaping chasm. A dedicated quarantine facility to ~separate~ residents from each other remains over the horizon.
In the *year* since its origin, policy has barely changed to reflect the impact of the greatest challenge to the world in 80 years. With the increased transmissibility of the delta strain, we need more, better, dedicated, solutions. Lockdown and vaccination can’t be the only weapons we bring to fight this war.
Unfortunately, the greek alphabet still has 20 more letters to go...
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