“It ain’t over until it’s over” (Yogi Berra, NY Yankees Manager, 1973)
Despite the inconsiderate modeling of Pres. Trump’s behavior, our presence in public without face masks, and ignoring appropriate social distancing is a mistake. Or, as the president would Tweet it, “Not practicing Covid-19 safety is a MISTAKE!”
This reality was brought home to us in horrifying fashion as we watched our brothers and sisters protesting the murder of George Floyd and crying out “I can’t breath” this past week. Every shout may have been spreading the dreaded virus – irrespective of the truth of their message and their commitment to fight social justice.
According to whatever medical authorities you confide in, Harvard Medical School, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization, airborne transmission of the coronavirus by you (even symptom-free) or others remains a strong risk. The tiny particles can travel through moisture droplets via coughing and sneezes.
It’s a mistake, Harvard Medical says because the small virus particles that can linger in the air for extended periods of time, unlike droplets from coughs, which settle quickly.
While the city may gradually relax commercial and social gathering, it’s a mistake to think you are safe in public – that others with whom you come in contact with are safe from you.
Without knowing it and certainly without intending to harm loved ones, people who serve you in stores or agencies, or friends and neighbors…or even strangers on the bus or in a shop, we all represent risks.
We’ve been sure of this danger ever since we read the reports of the explosive transmission on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in February. It is strengthened when we read the horrifying statistics of 5,600 or more deaths in nursing homes in our state. It will turn up again in a week or so when the price of the demonstrations is paid in emergency wards of our hospitals when our neighbors pay the price for their protest contact.
So, if you or those near you begin experiencing Covid-19 symptoms similar to the common cold, the flu or seasonal allergies, take prompt action to isolate them or yourself and get sound medical advice.
A recent medical paper indicated that 10 percent of Covid-19 cases generate 80 percent of the spread. The super-spreading takes place largely indoors, especially when building air conditioning systems aren’t working or in poorly ventilated rooms and corridors.
Remember: six feet of distancing is good; 10 feet is better.
Information for this story was taken from a release by Harvard C.H.Chan School of Health by Joseph Allen, May 26, 2020, with additional comments from the Washington Post Covid-19 blog.