Episode 66: Direct Contact

Hello and welcome to The Moving Curve. I’m Rukmini, a data journalist based in Chennai. Every night on this mini-cast, I consider one question around the novel coronavirus epidemic in India. Tonight I’m considering this one — how do we measure the risks to ourselves from covid-19?

Most of the examples that follow are drawn from three sources: a Twitter thread by Dr Muge Cevik, a Virology Clinician & Researcher at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, a blog post by Professor Erin Bromage, a Comparative Immunologist and Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and a Vox report quoting them. I’ve linked to all three of them.

The Chinese supermarket study is here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32340093/

The Seoul call centre study is here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/8/20-1274-f2

The MHA’s guidelines are here: https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/MHAOrderDt_30052020.pdf

For me personally, I try to think of all of these risks together in this way. When I collect my Amazon delivery package, I go to my door wearing a mask, wash my hands after collecting the package, and try not to touch it until the next day. The risk for the delivery person would be highest in his workplace, and if he were unfortunately infected, would then be highest to his family members. My interaction with him is not sustained. But i’m still going to wear a mask and wash my hands. How we protect him at his workplace, on public transport and then his family, are what we need to be focusing on.

Thank you for listening. This episode was edited by Anand Krishnamoorthi. Tomorrow — a new question.

I am a data journalist based in Chennai, India.

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