Activity bubbles

a minority of “super spreaders” are responsible for 80% of new infections

Nature, Mobility network models of COVID-19 explain inequities and inform reopening

The safest spaces are the external ones followed by interiors with restricted capacity. But the safety of these internal spaces significantly increase if we can manage to fill them exclusively with people who do not represent any risk of contagion to others.

This truth was demonstrated quite clearly in a recent publication of Nature about mobility network models of COVID 19 that informs reopening strategies by looking at data obtained from mobile phone location data. In this study they found new and interesting discoveries: they looked at a model to study places where a large number of contagion happened, i.e. where contagion was more probable. As a result, they found that it was significantly more probable in interior spaces. According to this study, the spaces that most favoured infection are (in this order):

  • Restaurantes
  • Hotels
  • Gyms
  • Cafes 

This means that any type of tourism is now a risky type of tourism, even more so the more relaxing the activity is that you want to do during your days of rest. The study calls for limiting capacity in favor of shutting down. It specifically calls for limiting capacity in restaurants to ⅕ capacity in order to reduce new infection by 80% while managing to preserve 60% of clientele. Without getting into the economic viability of keeping a restaurant open that can only serve at ⅕ capacity, we can simply just assume that this is (from a business perspective) problematic at least. Unfortunately, reducing new infections is simply not enough to stop the pandemic and it is ineffective in restoring trust. Tourists need to trust that they can now just enjoy their holidays without risk to their health. 

This is even more so, as shown by the study, when you consider that a minority of “super spreaders” are responsible for 80% of new infections. So you only need one surer spreader in your hotel, your restaurant, your gym for it to change into the next hotspot for infection.

So, taking all of this into consideration it becomes clear why it is necessary to create secure  “bubbles”. You can visit without exposing yourself to risk, thereby allowing for economic reactivation and a gradual slowdown of contagion. Only by being responsible by ourselves and for others will we survive this pandemic. We will survive not only the virus itself, but the negative economic consequences it leaves in its wake. Consequences we can still not calibrate and measure properly.

The only way out it to take hold of the reins of the pandemic.

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