From The Guardian:
Worst-hit German district to become coronavirus ‘laboratory’
Study will follow 1,000 people in Heinsberg to create plan for how to deal with virus
Kate Connolly in Berlin
Tue 31 Mar 2020 08.11 EDT
German scientists have announced what they described as a first-of-its-kind study into how coronavirus spreads and how it can be contained, using the country’s worst-hit district as a real-life laboratory.
The virus has spread more widely among the 250,000 residents of Heinsberg – a district in North Rhine-Westphalia bordering the Netherlands – than anywhere else in Germany, with 1,281 confirmed infections and 34 deaths. ///
Over the coming weeks the district will be used by leading virologists and a team of 40 medical students as a sort of laboratory for studying the virus. The “Covid-19 case cluster study”, launched on Tuesday morning, will follow 1,000 people who have been chosen because they are representative of the German population as a whole. …
The scientists will go into 500 households, as well as kindergartens and hospitals, to study how the infection is spread. They will look at every aspect ofeveryday life, from the extent to which children pass it on to adults, how it is spread within families – from mobile phones to door handles, to cups and TV remote controls – to whether pets can spread it, and whether it is transferred via certain types of food. “If there are ways of preventing the illness from spreading in our environment, we want to know what they are, with the goal of finding out how we can freely move about in the environment together,” Streeck said.
“On the basis of our findings we’ll be able to make recommendations, which politicians can use to guide their decision-making,” Streeck said. “It could be that the measures currently in place are fine, and we say: ‘Don’t reduce them.’ But I don’t expect that, I expect the opposite, that we will be able to come up with a range of proposals as to how the curfews can be reduced.”
This seems like a good idea. I look forward to some super-methodical Germans coming up with good advice for how to safely do things around the house that either I’m ignoring (e.g., maybe I should take my vitamins with a spoon rather than touching my hand to my lips?) or am over-obsessing about (the Infinite Loop of washing my hands and turning off the water without starting the process all over again).