We need to think about how we make more unified choices about how to approach infectious disease emergencies as a country. — Crystal Watson, a senior associate and assistant professor in environmental health and engineering at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
We need to think about how we make more unified choices about how to approach infectious disease emergencies as a country. — Crystal Watson, a senior associate and assistant professor in environmental health and engineering at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Even Moderate COVID Restrictions Can Slow The Spread Of The Virus — If They're Timely
Tensions are high right now. As the delta variant spreads like wildfire across the U.S., vaccination rates are still low in many places and parents and school staff are anxiously wondering what will happen when schools start up again. Should there be more mask mandates? Will businesses have to close again? Will big gatherings be banned?

There are no clear, simple answers to these difficult questions — in some places, officials and employers in the same locale are making different decisions. ... The overall message from analysis of state-by-state U.S. data is this: Even moderate restrictions on the size of gatherings, and some level of mask requirements can help help slow a surge of COVID-19 cases, if implemented at the right time.

... "As we go into the fall, when schools are going to go back in person and we do not have the vaccine coverage that we need to have to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV2, we need to be thinking harder about putting interventions on," says Seema Lakdawala, an assistant professor and flu researcher in the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of Pittsburgh who was one of the project leads.

"It doesn't mean that we have to stay at home and we can't go out anymore and we can't see our friends anymore," she says. It just might mean bringing back some level of masking requirements and gathering restrictions to help keep transmission under control.

... Throughout the pandemic, states — and even counties and cities within those states — have often done their own thing. Transmission has varied; residents' willingness to comply with restrictions has varied. Especially in the beginning, it was a real grab bag, says Lakdawala.

"A lot of states were putting [restrictions] on and then taking them off and then putting them on and taking them off — it was really haphazard," she says.

... "Clearly we're much more connected than anyone really thinks about in their day-to-day lives," says Crystal Watson, a senior associate and assistant professor in environmental health and engineering at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. "We need to think about how we make more unified choices about how to approach infectious disease emergencies as a country."


... The delta variant is indeed highly contagious. But the good news is that all of these tools — including wearing a good mask where appropriate, keeping gatherings small, washing your hands frequently and keeping fresh air circulating indoors — can still work to help stop the deadly virus in its tracks.
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/08/17/1027454405/covid-mask-mandate-school-gyms-bars-grocery-slow-spread-coronavirus