10-4 the proportion that could stop the pandemic and help the economy
Two professors from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and another from the London School of Economics developed a proposal that can help save lives and the economy.
The idea is simple, well seen: allow people to get out just enough to be able to produce or study, but not so much that they can transmit the disease, should they contract it.
The right ratio for this to happen, according to Professors Uri Alon, Ron Milo (of computer and systems biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel) and Professor Eran Yashiv (professor of economics at Tel Aviv University and the Centre for Macroeconomics at the London School of Economics) is 10-4.
Break the quarantine for four days, either to work or study, and return to shelter for ten.
This ratio could work - assuming the population continues to comply with other basic measures such as wearing masks, maintaining a distance of two metres on average and washing hands frequently, and that those who feel unwell comply with shelter - because those who contract the virus that causes 19-COVID disease would be quarantined for the days it takes for symptoms to start appearing - 10, on average - and if they were to contract it without knowing it, the four days they would be exposed would be the days it takes for the virus to incubate before it is contagious.
In the Op-Ed published in the New York Times, the authors of the proposal explain that the measure would make it even more efficient for the population to take turns, for example, according to family units: that both parents and children of a family attend their jobs and schools for four days while the other half observe quarantine and then exchange.
This kind of mechanism would also alleviate other logistical difficulties, such as parents who have been allowed to return to their places of work but cannot because their children have not returned to school and there is no one to look after them.
As the number of confirmed cases per day decreases, the number of days of exposure could increase. And if necessary, the number of days a person is out could be reduced if an increase in the infection rate is identified.
Implementing the proposal would certainly bring significant logistical challenges for all kinds of institutions - such as parents being able to coordinate between schools and their workplaces the rates at which they attend and take shelter - but it is a simple idea to decrease the possibility of contagion that would be worth trying.