ResearchTSSG News

COVID-19 Research: Contact Quotas to prevent COVID-19  

By 13th May 2020 No Comments

Technology has played a critical role in the society of today as many people transition to remote working, remote schooling, remote shopping and remote socialising. While people have quickly adapted to this new way of life with little hesitation there is growing uncertainty of when society will return to ‘normal’. TSSG researchers have asked the questions: What is the new normal? Can technology play a role in ‘living’ with the virus? To answer these questions, they have applied their diverse expertise in an attempt to answer what is currently perceived as unanswerable; when can we visit family and friends again? 

  

Maintaining contact quotas to prevent spreading of COVID-19.  

Social-distancing is the term of 2020 and is the current advise enforced on almost every global citizen prevent the spread of COVID-19. This measure will only slow the spread of the virus as it is likely we will be living with it for the foreseeable future. The advice is to stay 2metres apart from anyone outside of your household or, if necessary, only talk to someone for 15minutes to help reduce the spread. However, if you speak to someone on the street for 5 minutes you still can spread the virus just the chances of it are lower.  

Researchers has asked the question; how much personal contact can one have a day and not get infected? The simple answer is 0 or close to it which is the number the current government restrictions strives to achieve. Any number above 0 implies a certain level of risk for the individual to spread the disease. Many people use quotas to track calorie intake and weight-loss which is the approach TSSG and the American International University-Bangladesh have taken to help people understand and monitor their contact quota.   

So, how hard is it estimate the social quota and can HSE do it? In short, very. As shown in the figure above, a possible solution will incorporate a number of components. In order for the HSE to obtain the data they need to appropriate a suitable quota. To identify this quota every member of the public would be encouraged to share their contact history anonymously and safely. In other words, the HSE will know how many people one citizen has been in contact with and names and personal information is unnecessary therefore privacy is ensured. This data can then be applied to one of the epidemiological (control of infection diseases) platforms to evaluate the possible impact of various quotas and calculate the risk of further spread of COVID-19. Based on the risk values, the HSE will then be able to select the lowest quota figure and communicate it to the public via various platforms including the Contact Tracing App. 

Researchers: Dr. Stepan Ivanov (TSSG), Sirajum Munir Fahim (American International University-Bangladesh)