We Serve NW Indiana & Chicagoland
The Continuing Necessity of Effective and Economical Disease Control in Occupied Residential, Commercial, and Public Spaces
May 30, 2020
Indiana University, in cooperation with the Indiana State Department of Health, have published the first of four planned statistical random sampling studies of Indiana residents to achieve a snapshot of the population’s exposure and response to COVID-19. In testing the first pool between April 25 and May 1, researchers found that of the group reflecting the whole of Indiana, 1.7 percent tested positive for the novel coronavirus and an additional 1.1 percent tested positive for antibodies. These results reveal that following 50 days of varying social isolation, over 97 percent of Hoosiers were yet to be exposed to the virus. Further, IUPUI researchers estimate the overall blended infection-fatality rate to be .58 percent, nearly six times more fatal than the seasonal flu. Additionally, the joint study revealed that about 45 percent of those testing positive for an actual viral infection – though remaining infectious – displayed no symptoms at all while possibly circulating among the population.
Following Indiana reports of a peak in confirmed positive cases and deaths on 4/26/20 and 4/22/20, respectively, Indiana has been in a decline of these statistics. Now, with easing of movement and size of gatherings, researchers are watching infection and death totals to determine whether COVID-19 will resurge.
US Federal Disaster Plan
Beginning in the last week of February, RoomFog looked to US Governmental planning for a pandemic outbreak. US Government planning and response is governed by the Department of Homeland Security Pandemic Flu National Strategy Plan (DHS-PFNSP). The Pandemic Intervals, milestones within the plan, serve as decision stages for the US departments involved. According to emerging news reports at the time, on 2/22/20 the first human case in North America was identified and the U.S. Marines and Navy Prepared to Execute the Pandemic Plan, and by of 3/5/20 the US was at Stage 5 of 6.
The Bush Administration’s 2006 National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza notes that “Multiple waves (periods during which community outbreaks occur across the country) of illness are likely to occur with each wave lasting 2 to 3 months. Historically, the largest waves have occurred in the fall and winter, but the seasonality of a pandemic cannot be predicted with certainty.”
The nature of the level of infection may be influenced by many factors, perhaps most notably the suspected 14 day asymptomatic lag time between infection and the presentation of symptoms, and the climate in the hemisphere as noted above. Indiana’s health governance appears to be anticipating this, as evidenced in the Governor’s “Back on Track” guidelines which allow for increasing and decreasing measures which are driven by the State’s reporting. The State’s actions might also be an indication of its forecasts in the cancellation of the State and County Fairs scheduled through August.
As COVID-19 spread from Wuhan then north through Europe, the World watched for other possible leading indicators that might shed light on what to expect in the lagging outbreaks. Many unknown variables might have been responsible for the differing results in the rate and severity of infection. As COVID-19 landed in each successive reporting country, similar curves and characteristics were observed. Currently, the Southern Hemisphere is suffering the brunt of the illness.
As ground zero of the outbreak, eyes remain on China for indications of the impact of the disease, including the possibility of reinfection or resurgence. One recent report alleges that communiques obtained from the Chinese Communist Party showed a reinfection rate exceeding 30%. If true, numerous variables could also affect the impact in other parts of the World.
Among the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 are the degrees of distancing, isolation, and the effects on commerce. Increasingly, a consensus is forming that our national and local economies cannot continue under the pressures of business closures. This is contrasted with a clear danger for not only high-risk persons dying, but also those who would suffer a debilitating response and yet survive. This is coupled with the problem of asymptomatic persons who can spread the disease while not knowing they are ill.
An ill workforce can cripple a business if too many people are debilitated at one time. Companies such as GoDaddy have reportedly advised at-home workers of the likelihood of remaining off site until mid-2021. Likewise, our Military, whose soldiers work and live in close quarters, also understand the risks of widespread infection and are taking measures to protect and isolate troops. OSHA appears to be moving ahead with company audits to enforce the safety of these workplaces.
All of the above leads to the question: If COVID-19 is in fact persistent, what measures are available to best protect people while allowing for as normal commerce as possible?
The answers will seemingly come from many cooperating facets of mitigation. At this time, apparently no single factor is available to answer the whole problem. As discussed above, total isolation ends commerce. Total easing of social interaction overwhelms the health system capacity and more perish than expected. A vaccine remains elusive, particularly in light of reports of multiple strains of the virus.
Instead, a blended approach seeking to maximize the positive outcome from all measures taken seems likely. Disinfection of places occupied by people, in concert with the other measures already underway in Indiana, could help to control the rate of infection while helping to mitigate unnecessary risk to those participating in society. As the measures already in place are helpful – distancing, screening, testing, hygiene, and masks – the disinfection of these spaces is important and neccesary.
Iconic images of fog disinfection, often seen in reports from China, have been prevalent. Airline Carriers responded early on as well, performing deep fog disinfection. Many conventional and emerging practices are now well-established in many sectors.
However, another disturbing trend may be happening as well. Possibly as a result of misunderstanding disinfection, businesses struggling, public opinion towards COVID-19, and fatigue from extended isolation, RoomFog believes disinfection is not consistently practiced in many of the businesses we speak with.
All disinfection is not of the same caliber. There are even companies that, designed for a different sector than ours, obtain Log-6, fully sterile environments. Conversely, we understand that a business stating they are employing wipes and aerosol disinfectants cannot possibly achieve what our process can. And, perhaps tragically, they appear to report to their Clients that they ‘disinfect’. If true, these practices work against all of the other mitigating efforts.
Our process deploys a mist or fog of atomized non-toxic disinfectant at a rate and onto surfaces not possible if done by hand. The sheer distribution and volume of disinfectant necessary to achieve our results is not possible without a fog application.
Because of the speed and distribution of the fogging process, RoomFog can disinfect far more area, much more effectively, at a much lower labor and material cost.
RoomFog advertises that the average Business or Home, approximately 1740 square feet in Indiana, costs $50 to disinfect. This is based on a treatment taking under an hour, with a technician a earning a generous wage.
As the trajectory of COVID-19 continues, many competing issues will need to be addressed. Aside from measures already developing, fog disinfection should prove to be another essential element of a holistic solution.
RoomFog continues to work to contribute to the well-being of our communities, and is proud to be a part of the solution.