Christopher Lucero | An Observational Study

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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In a search for the solution to differing human responses to lockdown, it is proposed that we take the opportunity to leverage the global natural experiment the virus presents us with to garner further data on its infectious capacity and our varied emotive response to risk benefits and hazards.

The study would be an observational study, rated Class II in the normal ratings gradation scale, one level less rigorous than a double blind randomized controlled trial (RCT). RCT is the highest possible investigative method that medical science can pursue.

The study would require that participating companies, enterprises and outlets participate by altering business or social access hours to accommodate three different cohorts.

One cohort would be agnostic to the hours in which they used facilities and would willfully and freely apply any method of personal hygiene or protective gear they choose. No distancing or other medically sensible measures would be expected in this cohort.

The second cohort would be more restrictively bound to maintain distance measures but would not be bound to usage of protective equipment while accessing the enterprise.

The third cohort would be what is essentially the control group, applying all current distance and protective equipment measures.

All cohorts would be bound to a minimum of 10 weeks’ consistent behavior in order to assure that the exposure and underlying behavior allowed the virus adequate time for incubation in their tissues.

Participating enterprises would be bound to an escalating exposure regime, where the third cohort, the control group, are the first ones allowed access to a cleaned facility. The second group allowed access would be the distancers, and last the agnostics. After all cohorts have been allowed access, either as part of regular custodial practice or as a split-schedule cleaning, the cohort access cycle would restart, with a newly cleaned facility. 

Since the virus survives for some period on surfaces, it is recommended that to minimize cleaning burdens and leverage virus dissociation, enterprises practice at most two cycles per day, perhaps three for enterprises that maintain very long operating hours.

During the study each cohort will provide their weekly health and emotional status via telephone, mail, or internet communication. Participating facilities and enterprises will also provide their experience data. It may be that some employees are exposed to multiple cohorts, and those employees would be expected to maintain the strictest level of exposure controls.

At the end of the 10 weeks, participants are released from their binding to the study. Participants may participate as many times and as often as they like in these studies, until such time that the study director deems data sufficient to reach conclusive statistical significance among the cohorts. 

It is hoped that the medical community and participants will voluntarily continue long-term reporting in each cohort, even if the behavior of participants is not maintained.

Desirable endpoints are relative to the infectious rate (Ro), the death rate, associated comorbidities, evolving disease, and the evolving emotive state for each cohort. The study intends to connect the behavioral attributes of each cohort to outcomes, as well as the evolving emotive states while participating.

This behavioral study only intends to leverage the attribute of the natural experiment by allowing some measures of freedom to be weighed against risks of exposure. All risks are undertaken by individuals with unknown outcomes. The most positive outcomes would be in improvement to the quality of life and freedom of movement with no health impact. The least positive outcomes would be illness, costly morbidity and/or death. 

Each of these is already a potential outcome that has no connection to the study or the study director or any of the investigators. The study only intends to discover the emotive and medical outcomes from the varied behaviors in each cohort.

Christopher Lucero


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