It’s often been reiterated over the course of 2020 that Covid-19 is a new disease. SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes the disease, is related to other coronaviruses we’re more familiar with. But the disease has had unexpected consequences in a number of fields, including longer-term health effects for recovered patients. In an effort to understand the disease, scientists around the globe have been researching across various fields. In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the research, and how it affects our work here at React.
Scientists are doing their utmost to find out more
Covid-19 remains indiscriminate as to whom it infects, notwithstanding increasing evidence that risk factors include being overweight and having underlying health conditions. Of course, much of the research into Covid-19 has focused on the development of an effective vaccine. That’s going to be the best way to protect the general population in the long term. Many scientists are sceptical of the Russian vaccine announced earlier this month, as it has not been peer-reviewed and the human testing phase has been truncated. Other vaccines are looking more promising, including one being developed at Oxford University in conjunction with various pharmaceutical companies.
But there’s also been plenty of research into the transmission of the virus. Early indications were that a major cause of transmission was via surfaces touched by infected people or airborne droplets. Similar coronaviruses have been shown to survive for up 72 hours on hard, shiny surfaces such as metal and plastic. That certainly plays a key part, especially for asymptomatic carriers. But additional research into lingering airborne droplets from the airways of infected people shows this method to be significant. In particular, droplets can be of microscopically small size. This has fed into recommendations for social distancing and using face coverings.
Covid-19 research can help to change human behaviour
We must all play our part in helping to limit the spread of the disease. Wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance will be critical to reducing the impact of airborne droplets. But we need to avoid something called the Peltzmann effect: introducing one safety measure can increase other risky behaviours. There is evidence that wearing a mask makes people forget about or downplay the importance of hand washing.
Maintaining hand hygiene remains the single biggest personal action that people can take to address surface transmission. By removing the virus from our hands, we reduce the risk that virus particles will be left on surfaces where they can linger. And of course, we can further reduce the risk by cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. There is overwhelming evidence that the majority of transmission events occur indoors. So as the autumn approaches, it’s all the more important to keep vigilant when it comes to cleaning.
Cleaning indoor environments – and not forgetting outside spaces too
Here at React, we know that Covid-19 deep cleaning and decontamination is a specialist job. Our infection control methodology involves a rigorous four-step process for cleaning surfaces. We test, clean, disinfect and test again, to provide maximum effect in eradicating the virus and giving reassurance that we have done so. Whether it’s a first response clean after a confirmed Covid-19 case, or general preventive deep cleaning, we’re here to clean and decontaminate. We’re also on hand to look after the hygiene of air circulation systems in buildings. Our air hygiene and compliance teams are available to look at everything from fire damper testing through to kitchen extractor degreasing. All of this feeds into a cleaner, healthier indoor environment.
But we don’t neglect the cleaning of outside spaces either. The littering of used face masks has become a common sight, representing an infection risk, albeit a small one. This is one aspect of our roadside cleaning and hazardous waste removal service. Meanwhile, outdoor public shared spaces such as train station platforms and motorway service stations often have common touch points such as handrails which need decontamination.
We can all work towards limiting the second wave
As we’ve seen, scientific research is fleshing out various aspects of Covid-19. As well as vaccine trials, there’s been great progress on increasing availability of rapid result saliva tests for detecting the disease. Increasing the reliability of antibody tests can also show who has previously been infected. And as time goes on, rehabilitation for affected people is improving, as well as understanding risk factors behind becoming infected in the first place. All this is doubly important given misinformation is spreading across the internet, apparently propagated by such social media platforms
In the meantime, we can all take steps to reduce the likelihood, or at least the severity, of a devastating second wave. Employers should continue to keep health and safety policies and procedures up to date, including around deep cleaning and actions for staff and visitors to take. As individuals, we should all keep updated on public health messages. Possibly most importantly, it’s vital to respond to calls to test and self-isolate in the event of being contacted by the NHS test and trace programme. Let’s all protect each other and continue to limit the spread of Covid-19.
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Contact one of the team today to find out more about how we’re developing our specialist cleaning services to respond to Covid-19 research.
Post by Shaun D. Doak
Shaun is the CEO of React Group plc., a business dedicated to specialist cleaning, hygiene and decontamination. He is deeply committed to making sure that every one of our company’s clients receives the highest possible level of service. An expert in HVAC and commercial and industrial cleaning methodologies, Shaun has extensive experience in the facilities management and renewable services sector.