Time restrictions could increase infection by creating bottle-necks, says epidemiology researcher

The timing restrictions imposed as part of efforts to contain COVID-19 by Tamil Nadu government for the general public to shop for their essential vegetables and provisional supplies, could only “increase infection by creating bottle-necks”, a U.S.-based epidemiology researcher has opined.

Suhas Srinivasan, a Ph.D. scholar with a research focus in Biological Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, affiliated with Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, said it could increase infection.

The limited operation hours can cause more anxiousness about access to groceries. At a given time (likely before the stores open), there can be an increase in the number of people getting out of their homes and into streets leading up to the stores, he contended.

“Even though many stores are trying to enforce physical distancing, from many news reports the distance is not consistently 6ft (which is very hard to implement in the first place),” he argued.

Instead of the time restrictions, these outlets could provide separate hours (in the morning or evening) for the elderly and those with serious medical conditions and there could be increased hygiene practices at stores, he said.

Mr. Srinivasan is a part of a research group that has been actively working on understanding the genomics and transmission mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2, the novel virus which causes COVID-19.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 10:46:21 PM |

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