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What are we going to do about the COVID-2X and COVID-3X World wide Pandemics?
Peter Brooks
124 Posts
The big question is how society is going to change as multiple waves of COVID-19 and new viruses appear over the next 20 years.

Business models supporting sharing of physical objects appear to be in jeopardy (example "ride sharing" transportation). 

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA
57 Replies
Simon Barker
711 Posts
I would hope that we don't get multiple waves in the long term.  Anyone who is at high risk will be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Governments should be quicker at responding to any new disease outbreaks.  The quicker you respond to a disease outbreak, the less chance it has to spread.
Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Hello Simon:

We all hope for the better but we better plan now for the worse.

We may or may not be able to develop a vaccine that is good for "life". Just consider that the annual flu vaccine is just a guess as to what will be circulating over the next season. The past flu shot was (based on the latest published data) only 50% efficient as sometimes the strain changes over one season. Here in the US we have a high dose version of the Flu vaccine for people over 65. However you have to ask specifically for it as it cost much more than the regular dose.

I was looking for ideas concerning what has to change now to protect the general population from spreading future pandemics.

As I highlighted in my original message "ride sharing" is in trouble.

However what about the current practice of building bigger and bigger transportation systems (planes and cruise ships) with higher and higher packing density that gives a virus more opportunities to rapid;y spread itself?

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA
 
Simon Barker
711 Posts
The biggest problem is going to be packed mass transit systems.
It's been reported here that for the London tube to observe proper social distancing measures, the capacity would have to be reduced to 15% of what it is now.  Which isn't really practical.
Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Hello Simon

I am fully aware of the London Underground rush hour problem having been born and lived there.

Let look at the root cause of the problem-- Too many people trying to get to the same small area of the City at the same time.

Some of the solutions:- 
Time shift workers start and stop times to extend the length of the rush hour (flattening the curve in pandemic terms).

Here in the US things tend to start earlier (for example food shops open at 7 am and close at 10.00 pm) with employee times staggered. Some employees go in at 7 am, 8 am 9 am and 10 am.  
We currently food shop (special hour for seniors) at 7.00 am.

Another solution is to disperse the main offices to remote multiple locations around London with good transport connections (examples Hammersmith, Barking etc) and use upgraded communications between them.

It may surprise you to know that  at one time manufacturing in London was concentrated around the perimeter but not in the center of the city. This could be done for the service industry.

The third solution is for most people to work from home.

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA

  
 
 
I think you are posing a very important question Peter. We can hope that Governments, Universities, Economic Consultancies and associated lobby groups plus any non-government Bodies with 'skin in the game' are all setting up study groups to inform future plans.

Briefly I would observe that we need two areas of concentration namely:

1.) Seek to support, continue and improve internet based communications systems to enable the growth of good quality 'mixed mode' remote working, including transfer of centralise office arrangements to regional 'communications hubs' for those for whom 'home working' is not practical.

2.) Seek to continue to address measures and long term studies to more fully understand and thus limit 'man made fuelling' of climate change, including a more efficient use of all costly, scarce 'enabling technologies' such as lithium, cobalt, copper, and associated 'rare earth' (magnetic) technologies. E.G. Better for us all to 'share' these scarce resources between, say, one Million Pedal Assist Bikes, and Tuc-Tucs than concentrate the same resources on the manufacture of just 6250 'grossly inefficient' battery electric cars. (64KWh BEV/0.4KWh E-Bicycle = 160 and One million divided by 160 = 6250)

Fortunately, the implementation of 1.) will actually directly support and assist the pursuit and achievement of 2.) through a significant reduction in 'unneccessary' fossil fuelled road traffic. Widespread (global) implementation of programmes to enable 1.) and 2.) will also help to change our bad habits by the removal of the inexorable 'societal pressure' for every man and woman on the planet to drive round in a 1600 Kg Sports Utility Vehicle (whether BEV, Hydrogen or Fossil Fuelled) !
Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Hello Malcolm:

Since I last responded to this topic earlier this year the current pandemic situation has reached another stage with (1) attempts to restart the economy (including schools) and (2) social rebellion due to psychological fatigue.

Attempts to restart the economy by the Political leadership (in order to prevent a complete financial meltdown), has been very difficult due personal fear of being infected by an "unseen" foe.

Regarding the problem of psychological fatigue I observed a similar situation during the bombing of London during WWII, where after a short period of time the population of London stopped seeking shelter and the concept of "If it is my time to die, so be it" developed.

However in a war the foe is fully defined.

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA

 
Simon Barker
711 Posts
Malcolm Davies:
2.) Seek to continue to address measures and long term studies to more fully understand and thus limit 'man made fuelling' of climate change, including a more efficient use of all costly, scarce 'enabling technologies' such as lithium, cobalt, copper, and associated 'rare earth' (magnetic) technologies. E.G. Better for us all to 'share' these scarce resources between, say, one Million Pedal Assist Bikes, and Tuc-Tucs than concentrate the same resources on the manufacture of just 6250 'grossly inefficient' battery electric cars. (64KWh BEV/0.4KWh E-Bicycle = 160 and One million divided by 160 = 6250)
 

It's hard enough at the moment to get people to accept an electric car with a limited range compared with their old petrol or diesel one.  Telling them that they are not allowed to have a car at all, but only have a bike, isn't going to go down very well.

I wouldn't want to be the politician that suggests it.

Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Hello Simon:-
As regards transportation options with/or after the CoVID-19 pandemic coupled with the need to reduce atmospheric CO2 to control climate change, I have the following personal observations:-
I have been retired for close to 20 years and live in a semi-rural part of Central Florida.

Each year at this time we prepare for our hurricane season. Besides the storage of food and water in my house we have to consider the ramification of being hit by a CAT 3 or 4+ hurricane eye wall. This has happened at least 3 times  over the past 50 years. I am aware from past hurricanes that my house will stand 110 mph winds. Anything above that we evacuate somewhere (?)  
Previous hurricanes have (1) shut down wireless towers (2) Eliminated electrical power for a week (3) shut down distribution of gas (petrol) delivery tankers and gas(petrol) and diesel stations (4) food stores.
So it is important to have some form of transportation to get one to safety.
There are no passenger trains, planes stop flying well before the hurricane, and local buses also stop operation.
Depending on the size of the approaching storm one may have to travel 200-300 miles out of it's path.
Thus any transportation system must have a range of 250 miles without the need of refilling.
During one of last years storms Tesla downloaded software into it's cars to extend the maximum mileage that could be obtained. How they were able to extend this range I never found out.

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA




 
 
You make a very good point Peter, your situation in Central XCalifornia/DeleteX Florida, particularly with regard to the impact of severe weather events, forces me to consider a wider range of possibilities and demands regarding the suitability of battery electric cars as the best available mode and technology, as a substitute for fossil fuelled personal transportation. I understand that the laws in certain US States such as California, have mandated zero emission cars for many years and so it is perhaps a pity to see the production of lighter weight battery electric vehicles currently limited to just electric bikes and electric motorcycles. It would be good to see some lightweight cars produced for our evaluation for future use in the New Normal, post Covid - 19. My wife has an excellent 250watt/400Wh electric bicycle with a range of only 60 miles and top pedal assisted speed of just 15.5 mph so no good for escaping hurricanes. EM has produced some very exciting cars which really must be exhilarating to drive. Maybe his next long range model should be called 'The Storm Chaser' :-).
Possible Solution to Overcrowding on Public Transport
I am very much in favour of your proposal Peter " Another solution is to disperse the main offices to remote multiple locations around London with good transport connections (examples Hammersmith, Barking etc) and use upgraded communications between them." This is what many office workers, knowledge workers etc have been doing by working remotely from a central office during the past 5 months in the UK. Maybe 'home working' is not ideal for everyone, some have complained about lack of air conditioning at home. For many years, my 'Go Green get on your Bike' proposals have been rejected by this IET Community, namely that many regional/local offices should be set up for remote working - as a solution to significantly improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas production, alleviate daily traffic jams, increase personal leisure time and improve general health and well being - so maybe at least this awful Covid Pandemic has pointed to a better way forward for human society?





 
Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Good afternoon:
If anyone is interested in following Atlantic hurricanes (which I look at at least twice a day) go to nhc.noaa.gov/?atic - there are links to satellite and radar information.

There is one missing transportation option here in Florida -that is allowed on some (low speed) public roads, when they have a full lighting system and are tagged/insured --  electric golf carts. 

Push bikes have become very popular during this pandemic for exercise. They are not normally used for transportation by adults except for the homeless or for people who have lost their driving licenses.  The reason for this is again the weather. Most summer days we get spot thunderstorms with dangerous lightening, high winds and heavy rain (1-3 inches). 

By the way in California last week, because of the massive fires and high heat, the power grid was being over loaded and owners of electric cars were asked not to charge their cars in the early evening.

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA
Many apologies to you Peter, I misread your posting and now realise that you are in Central Florida and not California. I have edited my previous script accordingly. Nevertheless, your comment about the need for some protection from the adverse weather in Florida, is perhaps another good reason for the development of lightweight BEVs to address my concerns about the waste of valuable and sometimes scarce, electrical power, when, for example, a 1600 kg platform (BEV) is used to transport just one or two 80Kg people to work, or the local supermarket, shopping mall etc with a payload to total mass 'efficiency' of barely 5 to 10%, when a pedal assisted electric bike boasts a payload efficiency of typically 75%. I like the fact that electric golf carts are allowed on some of the (low speed) public roads - maybe their use will 'catch on' - let's hope so.
Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Hello Malcolm

 Regarding using transportation for going to the local supermarket or shopping mails.

Since the start of the pandemic we (my wife and I) only visit the supermarket(s) once a week at 7 am (wearing masks).

We end up with 4-5 large Sainsbury's shopping bags full of stuff and a cooler full of frozen foods. A hot wired bicycle will not work.

For shopping mails, they are effectively "dead", as the stores are not stocking products we are looking for. We are now ordering everything else we need from Amazon - it is a lot cheaper. 

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA



 

In/Adequacy of Bicycles as an Alternative to Cars
Thanks for the clarification Peter, I fully appreciate the inadequacy of bicycles for shopping trips, with maybe just a wicker shopping basket on the handlebars or a pair of rear rack-mounted panniers to carry all your food and supplies, when you do a large shop once a week. My wife and I, both now retired, have also tried to limit our food shopping trips to once a week since the Covid-19 ‘Lock down’ here in UK, choosing to shop at quieter times initially, in March/April, but now with the wearing of masks being compulsory, in all stores, we have found no crowding at any time in our local supermarkets. Fortunately our local Sainsbury's is within walking distance, which is fine in good weather, but frequently involves walking less than 1 to 2 metres besides lines of near stationary/gridlocked traffic in what is a built up area. My wife typically steers me 'all around the houses' to avoid the heavy traffic congestion and fumes, if we need to walk further to our local bank branch or alternative food shopping venues. Even then, we cannot avoid commenting on how many of the cars have only the driver in and often wonder why we see so few other pedestrians or cyclists. It's simply human nature I guess and a natural reaction to the easing of travel restrictions. One of our weekly 'treats' is to cycle about 4 miles to our favourite Italian ice cream shop near an ancient fishing village on the Thames Estuary, and then return via a deli styled super market, on the way home. Simple pleasures in challenging times!

Reduced Car Use during the Pandemic
We do have a car (a 5 door hatchback, 4 metres in length and approx 1140 kg curb weight) and have recently begun to use it to visit our relatives, for a day in the garden with them, some 50 miles away in North Essex and it is always interesting to see how much better the cumulative indicated fuel economy is (e.g. 64 mpg) on this 'longish' run and return journey, than if the car is used solely for local short journeys. (45mpg). The accuracy of these figures has been validated by proper 'brim to brim' measurements. I must admit that a small electric car would also suffice for these journeys.

What will the New Normal Trends Be ?
It remains to be seen whether there will be widespread permanent adoption of 'remote working' and less traffic on the roads as the course of the Pandemic reveals itself. So far the indications are not good as far as traffic density and congestion is concerned. Additionally, our Prime Minister is urging every one to 'get back to work' as the Governments' Furlough Payments Scheme of 80% salary come to an end from 1st October 2020 and as all our children all go back to school.

 

It rather looks as though my personal 'dream' of a brave new world with at least 40% of workers working remotely, not commuting for an hour each way in their motor cars, cycling to work, getting healthy, 40% less traffic pollution and large corporations setting up fully equipped, air conditioned, remote working ‘communications hubs’ in rural centres, to facilitate the above, is not going to be kick started, not even by the advent of Covid-19. So I am off to my drawing board now, to try to sketch out a design for a lightweight, two seater, weather protected, battery electric car, and to attempt to estimate what the benefits of such might be. Maybe I should action the latter before the former!

   
Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Hello Malcolm:

The lobby in the local banks are not open for "walk in" service, you have to use the outside "drive through". One has to make an appointment to use the safety deposit boxes inside the bank.
 
We typically get 25 mpg around town and 30 mpg on longer trips. Don't forget that is in "US gallons" not the larger "Imperial gallons". The current gas price is about $2.03/US gallon, thanks to the pandemic. 

The pandemic has messed up my future transportation plans. In the next 5 years I wanted to be able to call for a "point-to-point" self driving electric car for my local shopping, and get rid of one car. That has effectively been killed unless they come up with a way of sterilizing the car after each passenger trip.

Regarding air conditioning, all working locations, shops, houses and cars must have it here in Florida. With climate change most of the UK will also require it in the future  

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA




 
Simon Barker
711 Posts
Malcolm Davies:

 

 

So I am off to my drawing board now, to try to sketch out a design for a lightweight, two seater, weather protected, battery electric car, and to attempt to estimate what the benefits of such might be.

   

It's called a Renault Twizy.  You can already buy it.  There was one on the cover of E&T magazine August/September 2020.

Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Good morning:

I had to look up details of the Renault Twizy as I have never seen one up close. They may not be sold in the US.

Seems the batteries are not included in the purchase price. You have to lease them for about 45 pound per month.

The standard model does not have doors and the maximum speed is about 45 mph and the range is about 50 miles. It is effectively a 4 wheel covered electric motorcycle. The information said that  because of the external body you don't have to wear a helmet.

Just as a piece of information when you drive a motorcycle in Florida you do not have to wear a helmet. A few years ago when I visited a Florida heart transplant hospital  I was told that they get a lot of donor hearts from people who had accidents when driving motorcycles. 

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA
Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Good afternoon:-
Canyon reveals Bike-Car Hybrid concept vehicle:

See details at the attached URL:-

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/canyon-bike-cycling-car-concept-vehicle-new-ebike-a9698306.html

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA
Simon Barker
711 Posts
Peter Brooks:
Good morning:

I had to look up details of the Renault Twizy as I have never seen one up close. They may not be sold in the US.

Seems the batteries are not included in the purchase price. You have to lease them for about 45 pound per month.

The standard model does not have doors and the maximum speed is about 45 mph and the range is about 50 miles. It is effectively a 4 wheel covered electric motorcycle. The information said that  because of the external body you don't have to wear a helmet.

Just as a piece of information when you drive a motorcycle in Florida you do not have to wear a helmet. A few years ago when I visited a Florida heart transplant hospital  I was told that they get a lot of donor hearts from people who had accidents when driving motorcycles. 

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA

Renault have now abandoned their battery leasing, as it was so unpopular.  It made little difference to anybody leasing a car, or buying on credit, but it substantially depressed the value on the used car market.  The doors are an optional extra.  If you want windows in the doors, that's another optional extra.

In France, they are treated like mopeds and teenagers can drive them.  Here in the UK, you need a full car licence.  I have seen one or two, but they are quite rare in this country.

Thank you both Peter and Simon, I knew about the Renault Twizy, introduced to the UK in 2012 and I had dismissed it as little more than a failed 'concept car'. However it is still on sale in the UK, priced at £11,540 including the 'flip up' side doors. It is indeed classed as a Quadricycle and so does not qualify for the UK Government 25% discount (up to £3000) 'plug-in electric car' grant. When, at the time of writing, you can still buy a 'proper small car', admittedly a rather basic one, namely a Dacia Sandero, 5 door hatchback (with a 75 bhp, 999cc Renault engine) for as little as £6,995 - not many customers are going to opt for the £11,540 Renault Twizy.

I think this just goes to show that we have to pay a very heavy premium for any conventional 'heavy' battery electric vehicle - presumably due to the costly high technology 'electrics' necessary to realise anything like a practical electric car. Taking the MRRP of two Small 5 door hatchbacks (one ICE and one BEV) with similar engine powers and identical 0 to 60 mph times of around 12 seconds, namely the Renault Clio Play TCe 100 (100 PS) at £15,995 and the Renault Zoe Play Z.E 50/R110 (110 PS) at £26,495 + £3,000 = £29,495 we have a MRRP ratio of BEV/ICE = 1.84. Thus there is an 84% premium to pay for the Zoe.

The Canyon Bikes 'concept pedal car' is very interesting and certainly more likely to attract a more reasonable selling price than the Renault Twizy. Let's be honest, it is not until you 'return to cycling', on a 'push bike' that you appreciate how much you need to use all those gears and how much your average journey speed is governed/limited by the gravitational impact of uphill gradients on your total mass (bike plus rider) and wind resistance increasing as the square of your speed on the level or on down grades. For over a century, we have been 'spoiled rotten' by our lovely fossil fuelled motor cars. Maybe it is now time to take the lead that Covid-19 has shown us and adopt a radical change of direction, if we are to succeed in 'greening' the planet.
 

Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Hello Malcolm:

I came across this article in today's JAMA about Electric scooter accidents in the USA over the past couple of years. It shows the rapid increase in head injuries. 

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2770043?utm_source=silverchair&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=article_alert-jamanetworkopen&utm_content=mthlyforyou&utm_term=090620

As I indicted in one of my earlier posts I am very concerned about safety (or lack of) in one's chosen transportation system.

In my care free youth in the London I had a 1954 NSU Electric Start Scooter (based on the Lambreta) which I used to get to work using the Great West Road.

The big safety problem during winter time was "black ice" on the road.

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA

 

The estimated USA e-scooter injury data makes interesting reading Peter rising exponentially from 1.53 injuries per 100,000 in 2014 to 9.22 per 100,000 of the population in 2019. It clearly calls for the wearing of helmets to be made compulsory (if only for personal insurance purposes) to reduce the number of head injuries. It has been compulsory for all motor cyclists to wear an approved helmet in the UK for many years. My own Father was hospitalised and in a coma for over 7 days after having an accident on his 98 cc James Motorcycle back in the late 1930's - he was only wearing a leather style of helmet, nothing like the later patented 'Everoak' cork lined hemispherical 'skid lids' that were common in the 50's and 60's.

When I was a child/teenager, he owned a second hand, light green/cream NSU Prima Scooter (based on the Italian Lambretta design - as you observe) for a while after running a series of Norton motorcycle and sidecar outfits for commuting to work and for family outings. He said he was lucky to survive this - his one and only serious motorcycle accident. His final motorcycle was a BSA Shooting Star - a powerful 500 cc twin which he could barely kick start, despite weighing nearly 15 stones, even standing on the kick starter, as it had a high compression engine with no 'decompression' valve. I remember standing up on the pillion footrests on one occasion, just to see how fast we were going and I received a severe scolding from his as we were doing 85 mph.

I share your concern about ensuring adequate 'crash safety' for all possible 'alternative' replacements for the current ‘heavy’ motor car and it is heartening to see that the wearing of safety helmets by those riding 'push bikes' and e-bikes is becoming common now in the UK. It is also encouraging to see that companies developing lightweight alternatives, such as the Canyon, assisted pedal car you highlighted, are giving careful consideration to making them as safe as possible for use on our roads. This evening, the BBC featured an IRIS electrically assisted tricycle pedal car, with its body made from a modern, light but strong 'plastic foam' material and it featured a top speed of 30 mph and a fully streamlined clear plastic canopy. Here is a link to a preview of Grant Sinclair’s website:

 

https://www.grantsinclair.com/en/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJeXZD7MCCY

 

I think you will agree that the IRIS Trike certainly looks like a worthy replacement for the original Sinclair C5, designed by his Uncle, Sir Clive Sinclair !

 

 

Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Hello Malcolm:

Among the many organizations that I receive "push" e-mails from, is the US Federal agency responsible for safety recalls on commercial products.

Over the years there have been a large number of recalls on cracking of Bicycle Forks (usually from Taiwan) and Helmets (usually from China).

The Sinclair IRIS tricycle pedal car looks pretty good however I wonder if the inside of the transparent cover mists up due to heavy breathing by the occupant.

The other day I did see a "home" conversion of a electric tricycle with a top roof covered with solar cells for charging the battery.

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA 
Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Good morning:
I would like to ask a question which indirectly deals with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

I have just finished a COVID-19 Guardian podcast which discussed the need for getting a Flu shot in the UK.
.
Here in the US only about 40 % of the total population get the annual flu shot. The percentage is higher for people over 65 years. 
There are two versions of the  flu vaccine- a "basic" version and a "high dose" version specifically for people over 65. 
Yesterday I got my high dose version made by Sanofi-Pasteur called Fluzone Quad. 

What is the situation in the UK?

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA  



 
Simon Barker
711 Posts
Peter Brooks:
Good morning:
I would like to ask a question which indirectly deals with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

I have just finished a COVID-19 Guardian podcast which discussed the need for getting a Flu shot in the UK.
.
Here in the US only about 40 % of the total population get the annual flu shot. The percentage is higher for people over 65 years. 
There are two versions of the  flu vaccine- a "basic" version and a "high dose" version specifically for people over 65. 
Yesterday I got my high dose version made by Sanofi-Pasteur called Fluzone Quad. 

What is the situation in the UK?

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA  



 

A bit shambolic, as usual.  People are still avoiding going to see their doctors.  I only discovered that my GP is already making appointments for flu jabs when I looked on their Facebook page.  No doubt, they will still be pushing people to get their vaccinations as late as January, as usual.

In the UK, it's usually only the elderly and people with specific medical conditions who are offered the vaccination for free.  But it sounds like they want to catch more people this year

Peter Brooks
124 Posts
Hello Simon:

If I read you correctly you can only get flu shots at your GP. 

I get my flu shot at a local drug store (chemist like Boots). Being over 65 I get it for free and also a $5 coupon to purchase anything in the store.

How are they going to give the COVID-19 vaccine to the UK population without having additional outlets?

I hear that some of the vaccines in development require storage at -80 C. Does you GP have a storage freezer that goes down that low?

Peter Brooks MIET
Palm Bay Florida USA   

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