MIT COVID study: Masks may be more important indoors than social distancing (CNET)

CNET: MIT COVID study: Masks may be more important indoors than social distancing. “Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Stand at least six feet away from others. These are the guidelines many of us have lived by for the past year, all of them suggested in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, MIT researchers are taking a closer look at the six-foot recommendation to see how effective social distancing really is.”

Covid: Outdoor meetings and sport to resume in England (BBC)

BBC: Covid: Outdoor meetings and sport to resume in England. “Two households or groups of up to six people are now able to meet outside in England again as the stay-at-home Covid restrictions order comes to an end. Outdoor sport facilities including tennis courts and golf courses are also reopening, and organised outdoor sports can resume in the latest easing. And weddings will also be on again, attended by up to six people.”

Harvard Gazette: The main public health tool during 1918 pandemic? Social distancing

Harvard Gazette: The main public health tool during 1918 pandemic? Social distancing. “Analyses of 1918 public health responses found that interventions in U.S. cities helped reduce influenza transmission and lower mortality rates when they were implemented early in the pandemic. In a 2007 article, researchers examined data from 17 U.S. cities and included a graph that compared the mortality rates of Philadelphia and St. Louis, based on the timing of social-distancing measures. Philadelphia, which waited more than two weeks after the first cases were reported — even allowing a city-wide parade — reported 748 deaths per 100,000. St. Louis, which rushed to ban public gatherings two days after the first cases were detected, ended up with 358 deaths per 100,000.”

Covid: Masks and social distancing ‘could last years’ (BBC)

BBC: Covid: Masks and social distancing ‘could last years’. “People may need to wear face coverings and socially distance for several years until we return to normality, a leading epidemiologist has predicted. Mary Ramsay, the head of immunisation at Public Health England, said basic measures could be in place until other countries successfully roll out jabs. She also said a return of big spectator events required careful monitoring and clear instructions about staying safe.”

New York Times: Children in elementary schools don’t need to be kept six feet apart, the C.D.C. said.

New York Times: Children in elementary schools don’t need to be kept six feet apart, the C.D.C. said.. “The three-foot rule also now applies to students in middle schools and high schools, as long as community transmission is not high, officials said. When transmission is high, however, these students must be at least six feet apart, unless they are taught in cohorts, or small groups that are kept separate from others, and the cohorts are kept six feet apart.”

New York Times: A new study suggests 3 feet, not 6 feet, is sufficient distance for school students, with mask-wearing and other safety measures kept in place.

New York Times: A new study suggests 3 feet, not 6 feet, is sufficient distance for school students, with mask-wearing and other safety measures kept in place.. “The new study, published last week in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, suggests public schools may be able to reopen safely for in-person instruction as long as children maintain three feet of distance between them, and with other mitigation measures maintained, such as wearing masks.”

ScienceBlog: Adherence To Health Precautions, Not Climate, The Biggest Factor Driving Wintertime COVID-19 Outbreaks

ScienceBlog: Adherence To Health Precautions, Not Climate, The Biggest Factor Driving Wintertime COVID-19 Outbreaks. “Wintertime outbreaks of COVID-19 have been largely driven by whether people adhere to control measures such as mask wearing and social distancing, according to a study published Feb. 8 in Nature Communications by Princeton University researchers. Climate and population immunity are playing smaller roles during the current pandemic phase of the virus, the researchers found.”

EurekAlert: Public mobility, social media attention in response to COVID-19 in Sweden, Denmark

EurekAlert: Public mobility, social media attention in response to COVID-19 in Sweden, Denmark. “Denmark was one of the first countries to enforce lockdown to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and subsequent gradual reopening, whereas Sweden has had few restrictions, largely limited to public recommendations. Researchers assessed public mobility and social media attention associated with COVID-19 spread and societal interventions from February to June in Denmark and Sweden.”

CNET: SimpliSafe social distancing sweater sounds siren when others get too close

CNET: SimpliSafe social distancing sweater sounds siren when others get too close. “Unprecedented times call for unprecedented sweaters. Enter the SimpliSafe Social Distancing Sweater, which sounds an alarm when other people get within 6 feet. The sweater for the COVID-19 era is a bit of creative PR for SimpliSafe, a purveyor of home security systems. The company did produce a working prototype of the pullover, however.”

Metro: Dad ordered to turn off Christmas lights or face £10,000 fine

Metro: Dad ordered to turn off Christmas lights or face £10,000 fine. “Trevor Payne, 46, has been displaying festive lights outside his house for several years to raise money for mental health charities. But police were called to his property in Cheslyn Hay, Staffordshire, on Saturday evening after reports of a ‘large gathering’ in the street. The dad was ordered to turn off his seasonal display or face a huge fine for breaking coronavirus rules – leaving families and children in the area heartbroken.”

Nature Human Behaviour: Partisan differences in physical distancing are linked to health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Nature Human Behaviour: Partisan differences in physical distancing are linked to health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Numerous polls suggest that COVID-19 is a profoundly partisan issue in the United States. Using the geotracking data of 15 million smartphones per day, we found that US counties that voted for Donald Trump (Republican) over Hillary Clinton (Democrat) in the 2016 presidential election exhibited 14% less physical distancing between March and May 2020.”

No masks and no back up measures: How the White House became ripe for an outbreak (CNN)

CNN: No masks and no back up measures: How the White House became ripe for an outbreak. “While aides took steps to keep Trump from catching coronavirus, the White House’s ultimate failure and the ensuing West Wing outbreak can be tied to an over-reliance on rapid coronavirus testing and disregard for the most basic and effective public health measures that have become second nature to most Americans: wearing a mask and social distancing.”

The Lantern: College Republicans, Democrats Campaign For November Election During Pandemic

The Lantern: College Republicans, Democrats Campaign For November Election During Pandemic. “In the middle of a notorious swing state, Ohio State is a breeding ground for young leaders from across the political spectrum. The university’s chapters of College Democrats and College Republicans are fighting for party wins in Ohio despite restrictions on in-person meetings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Slate: How the 6-Feet Rule Can Lead Us Astray

Slate: How the 6-Feet Rule Can Lead Us Astray. “The original definition for close contact was basically a good guess, made at the beginning of the pandemic, with the understanding that the virus spread via relatively large particles. Helpfully, our understanding of how the virus makes its way from one person to the next has evolved since. It turns out that large virus-containing particles, the kind that usually don’t travel more than a few feet and don’t linger in the air, aren’t the only particles that an infected person expels as they breathe, talk, and cough. They also emit smaller particles that remain airborne for minutes to hours.”