The Petri Dish.

Or testing without testing 

We have been told to Self Isolate , Cocoon, work from home to slow the spread of Covid 19 but it is more than that. It makes testing way more efficient.

In Germany they have been putting 10 swabs in a single test, if the test is positive for Covid-19 then at least 1 of the 10 are infected and need to be tested again. If the test is clear then 9 more tests are not needed.  100 tests can clear potentially 1000 people, it is a great filter, but how about no tests.

The Petri dish is a growing medium you take a swab of somewhere wipe it on the contents of the petri dish and put that dish to one side to incubate. The resulting growths are characteristic of the bacteria in the sample.

By keeping to ourselves each home in Ireland has become a petri dish.  Covid-19 has a lifespan and an incubation period.  We now are samples in a petri dish.  After 14 days or so we may have no symptoms, mild symptoms or strong symptoms. 

Because of self isolation those that had covid 19 initially are likely over it, although others in the same household may have since contracted it from the initial source and need to continue to isolate.

If nobody in a household has had any symptoms at all then you can be fairly confident nobody has come into contact with covid 19. 

People with severe symptoms will have been moved to hospital units. 

There is a macro effect too. If no one on your estate has shown symptoms then it’s very likely that no one on your estate has been in contact with covid 19. After around a month any households that had Covid-19 will be cured and after testing will be able to come out of isolation.   

The households that didn’t fully isolate, become a super household, as they are effectively one large household. Unfortunately their vulnerable household members will likely suffer the consequences and may die as a result. They may kill grandma but its not your grandma but if grandma’s have been cocooning as they should, then she should be ok.

So now we are a nation of petri dishes, and as a result of this strategy we limit the fuel for this fire.  The smaller the household and the better they manage to isolate, the less likely they are to get infected. Households that have members with Covid 19 will get sick and most recover , some will die.

The Health service will be able to concentrate resources in affected communities.  The Gardi will help limit inter community spread. Your job is to minimise your contact group and limit your travel. You don’t need to worry about what your neighbors do as long as you stay in your own petri dish.