Planning and Design Impact on Diseases

Architects and designers are the main role in any construction and became more needed as the industry grows. They have always tried to come up with sustainable designs to avoid any unhealthy spaces generated by the integration of natural air and proper ventilation. In this research, people have turned into healthcare systems to seek urgent treatment and protection that most likely to be insufficient during any major outbreak and it can be shown from big cities who have been hit the most by COVID-19. Infectious diseases were not the only outbreak in the last years, as history shown that such events might occur in the future. The study suggests utilizing an infectious disease surveillance system which can be integrated into our building design to avoid any future outbreak might occur. A study published by (Wang, Jin, Xiong, Tu, & Ye, 2017) discussed the importance of early warning of diseases outbreak and infectious disease surveillance data for disease prevention and control. Community-based surveillance is one of the essential according to target site especially in high-risk population areas (Lan, Zhou, Zhang, & Lai, 2017).

South Korea emission of NO2 after and before COVID-19 outbreak
Sentinel-5P, 1 Feb–17 Mar 2019

Design regulations pay more attention to fire alarms and emergency exits rather than healthcare and disease surveillance. As the population grows, transportations and buildings advance in developed countries which puts the risk of infectious outbreaks anytime. This study suggests the integration of surveillance and monitoring systems in and future or existing design to reduce the numbers of future outbreaks and to save lives. Although sustainable design is an essential factor to improve any space’s design, there is a need regulation that enables the use of healthcare guidelines into our design. It is evident that the expansion of transportation and population have increased the spread of viral diseases in a very short time, which is why we need urgent attention to our healthcare systems.

Infectious Diseases and Transports

The expansion of transport networks has a major impact on the global spread of diseases and made the world connected by air, sea, and land easily. There are few downsides of the global expansion of transportation which are infectious diseases, pandemics, vector invasion events and vector-borne pathogen importation (Tatem, Rogers, & Hay, 2006). Within a few months, the COVID-19 extent from Wuhan-China to all parts of the world that shows how easily can a disease sweep the continentals than ever before. Infectious such as the global influenza pandemics, the devastating Anopheles gambiae invasion of Brazil, Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases and recently COVID-19. As the economy grows, human mobility in high-income countries, the volume, and speed of travel are unprecedented. It began with the commercial aviation put people at the risk of new strains of familiar diseases, or from new one; the last five centuries have seen more infectious diseases than ever before (Karlen, 1995).

The history showed that over the past 500 years, the establishment of worldwide transport networks has facilitated pandemics diseases such as Plague, Cholera, Influenza, HIV/AIDS, SARS, Bioterrorism, Malaria, Dengue, and Yellow Fever. The research (Tatem et al., 2006) highlighted that despite the type of transport, the potential of disease emergence and spread can happen very quickly as modern transportation makes the control of infections and quarantine increasingly irrelevant and we must expect more of communicable pandemics. It is suggested to have more predictable information like temporal variations in passengers number and quantifying the relative importance of all types of transports for disease movement.

A National Active Transportation Strategy can Reduce Chronic Diseases & Health Care Costs
Source: cape.ca

In the same line, the rapid development and economic growth in central Africa showed the risk of infectious diseases. Despite the positive outcomes from these changes, the region became more vulnerable to future outbreaks (Munster et al., 2018). Relying on the previous outbreak of the Ebola virus, the research mentioned that urban and mobile populations are among the factors which might enable the virus to spread even quicker than before putting the risk of many lives in danger. Researchers predicted that by 2030 Central Africa will use more accessible routes, mining and hydroelectric industries and road constructions which not only affect the ecosystem but also increase the opportunity for new infectious diseases and quicker outbreaks. These are clear signs that rapid and unplanned development can destroy the ecosystem and any demographic-economic changes conspire to cause major outbreaks in both national and international level.

When we talk about the COVID-19 outbreak, we notice how quickly this virus spread globally with a few months of the first case in China. Notwithstanding the previous scenarios with the many outbreaks, we can imply that governments have not prepared properly for such incidents. Bill Gates in his popular talk on TEDx in 2015 discussed that the world is not ready for the next epidemic and that he predicted such an outbreak can kill many if it ignored (Gates, 2015). The questions arise here is that why we don’t pay further attention to the scientific facts that derived from history and experience? Why we need more lives to be taken to establish a stronger foundation to deal with such events? Bill Gates is one of many environmentalists who brought up this topic but yet little efforts have been made. He further talked about how little we invest in healthcare systems while we rapidly grow the industry, and that only the beginning of a series of pandemics if we stay unprepared (TED Connects, 2020).

Food and COVID-19

There is some debate about the way meat should be cooked, some research confirmed that properly cooked meat kills harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be poisoned and result in illness and death (Fillion & Henry, 1998). Whilst others argue that fully cooked can minimize the benefits and nutrition’s in food, in fact, it reduces the amount of fibres. There is no confirmed evidence that non-cooked meals can spread the COVID-19 but the WHO urges people to heat their meals before consumption. An article published by CNN talked about the reasons to blame for coronavirus (Walsh & Cotovio, 2020)

Bats are a possible source of the coronavirus, but some scientists say humans are to blame for the spread of the disease.

Bats have been one of the controversial topics that led to the spread of coronavirus that was originated in Wuhan in China. Experts claim that bats are possible source of the disease yet they are not to blame for the transfer, humans are. The original virus might originate in bats as one of the cases has been seen in Chinese horseshoe bats, however, bat communities often untouched by humans to spread across Earth but we did. The numbers of animals that are shipped in large numbers than never before “said Cunningham to CNN”, it can make the other animals more vulnerable to infection as they too are stressed, as we as humans. It is an indisputable sign that environmental damage can kill humans fast too, and if it ever happened again, it will be for the same reasons.

Pathogens that have evolved in bats can withstand a high body temperature, so a human fever will not work as a defense mechanism.

People habits and lifestyle

In a discussion with Dr. Ardalan Sharit from Iran, he explained some of the factors that the statistics are more shocking in Europe and China are religion and people gestures. He said that in Islam, people must perform ablution five times, therefore, washing hands and face regularly is a common habit among Muslims. This point highlighted by the World Health Organization WHO in its latest update as to avoid the COVID-19 infection people must wash their hands regularly. The other thing Ardalan said is that showing public affection or PDA (display public affection) is prohibited in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, this also prevented the disease from spread unlike in the West where display public affection is common. Lastly, Ardalan mentioned that cooking, which was highlighted by WHO, is different in the Middle east. People like to consume their food fully cooked, unlike in other regions that raw food and partially cooked meat are actually one of the routine consumptions in the West and China.

Couple Holding Hands

In line with the above, an article published (Mulier & Fourcade, n.d.) talked about the history of kissing and how it was banned by King Henry VI of England in 1439 to battle the plague. Some health authorities urged people to refrain from PDA as it showed by limiting physical contact could help to slow down the march of a disease. The article further explained that in Italy, people started to suggest don’t give a double kiss on the cheek as a greeting or goodbye anymore. In the U.K., virologist John Oxford’s advice people to remain “standoffish” rather than engaging in touchy-feely greetings. However, in the Middle East, greetings by handshakes and kisses on checks are common between the same gender. An article discussed the rituals in the Arab World (Sheta, 2018), actually touching shows more respect to each other but not the same-sex which shows that PDA is also common in this region as in the West but takes with few different traditions. This raises the question again of why COVID-19 why highly spreading in Europe and China?