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COVID-19 transmission: What we know

25 3 12
28.03.2020

New York – There is not yet an ironclad scientific consensus on exactly how the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spreading, but experts are getting a pretty good sense of it. That understanding needs to be central to our strategy of combatting the virus with minimal collateral damage.

This isn’t about over-reaction or under-reaction, but mis-reaction. For example, sending janitors rushing into closed schools and other buildings to sanitize them poses much more risk to those janitors — and anyone they later come in contact with — than leaving the buildings empty.

And if you leave your apartment building to go running, there’s more danger in your shared elevator than in the great outdoors.

Such distinctions are important. There’s abundant evidence that we are going to be contending with this thing not for days or weeks, but for months.

“Shelter in place” directives are more suited to short-term emergencies like terror attacks than ongoing pandemics. It just isn’t possible to tell people to stay in their homes for months. Many people will need to leave their homes to deliver medical care, buy food and take away trash.

As we settle in for the long haul, science-based public messaging should separate high-risk activities from those that are low risk or minimal risk. It’s essential that policies don’t restrict important kinds of work that pose almost no risk, or ignore risky activities that have fallen through the cracks.

These conclusions are based on what we know about how this virus spreads:........

© The Japan Times