How Exactly Do You Catch Covid-19? There Is a Growing Consensus

Epigraph:

Every human life is precious and sacred and saving one is like the saving of the whole of humanity. (Al Quran 5:32/33)

Source: WSJ

By Daniela Hernandez, Sarah Toy and Betsy McKay

Surface contamination and fleeting encounters are less of a worry than close-up, person-to-person interactions for extended periods

Six months into the coronavirus crisis, there’s a growing consensus about a central question: How do people become infected?

It’s not common to contract Covid-19 from a contaminated surface, scientists say. And fleeting encounters with people outdoors are unlikely to spread the coronavirus.

Instead, the major culprit is close-up, person-to-person interactions for extended periods. Crowded events, poorly ventilated areas and places where people are talking loudly—or singing, in one famous case—maximize the risk.

These emerging findings are helping businesses and governments devise reopening strategies to protect public health while getting economies going again. That includes tactics like installing plexiglass barriers, requiring people to wear masks in stores and other venues, using good ventilation systems and keeping windows open when possible.

Two recent large studies showed that wide-scale lockdowns—stay-at-home orders, bans on large gatherings and business closures—prevented millions of infections and deaths around the world. Now, with more knowledge in hand, cities and states can deploy targeted interventions to keep the virus from taking off again, scientists and public-health experts said.

That means better protections for nursing-home residents and multigenerational families living in crowded conditions, they said. It also means stressing physical distancing and masks, and reducing the number of gatherings in enclosed spaces.

“We should not be thinking of a lockdown, but of ways to increase physical distance,” said Tom Frieden, chief executive of Resolve to Save Lives, a nonprofit public-health initiative. “This can include allowing outside activities, allowing walking or cycling to an office with people all physically distant, curbside pickup from stores, and other innovative methods that can facilitate resumption of economic activity without a rekindling of the outbreak.”

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Categories: Health, The Muslim Times

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