Coronavirus: How Will We Ever Be Safe Inside? – The Atlantic

Current Affairs

Quick post to point people to this article in The Atlantic. Derek Thompson collects the best and most recent information about how the coronavirus is spread. He points to what South Korea learned studying a particular spreading event in an office building:

Coronavirus: How Will We Ever Be Safe Inside? – The Atlantic:

In its conclusion, the Korean CDC writes that the spread of the virus was almost entirely limited to the one floor “despite considerable interaction between workers on different floors in the elevators and lobby.” This would suggest that the main facilitator wasn’t common touch points, such as doors and elevator buttons, but rather common airspace. When people talk—or sneeze or cough—they produce respiratory droplets that can come to rest in other people’s mouths, noses, and lungs. Talking for hours in close quarters, in an unventilated space, can create an ideal petri dish for COVID-19 transmission.

It would be irresponsible to use the Korean study an an illustrative example if it were an outlier. But its main finding is fully in line with the emerging scientific consensus. On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its summary of COVID-19 transmission to clarify that the virus “does not spread easily” from touching surfaces or objects—like, say, elevator buttons. Instead, they wrote, “the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person … through respiratory droplets.”

He goes on to suggest some steps that offices can take to cut down the virus spread among workers. Some of those changes, particular upgrades to HVAC systems are going to be out of the reach of smaller businesses already struggling. That’s why our staff is working remotely for the rest of the summer. (We’ll see where we are in September and make a decision about the rest of the year then.)

The article continues with a discussion of restaurants and public entertainment. There are lessons for faith communities in both. Nothing terribly surprising, but we’re going to need time to think about what has to happen next to keep people safe. Go read the article. It’s helpful.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...