Update on COVID-19 Protection

Poster of COVID-19 Things to Do

COVID-19 protection is not exactly cohousing, but it’s the best place to post this so others can find it. The Cohousing-L list doesn’t take attachments. There is a Google Docs link in the text and later a PDF you can download. It was circulated on the Historic Takoma neighborhood list in Washington, DC, with this introduction:

Attaching a link to a newly updated set of guidelines set out in a Frequently-Asked-Questions format. The authors are seven scientists and engineers who have been active in high-level consultations and conferences at WHO and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The document is titled “FAQs on Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 Aerosol Transmission” and can be found here: 

It’s 33 pages long but in my opinion very readable. The reader can skip to the topics of greatest interest because of its FAQ format.

The document should ease the minds of some who have been frightened by unmasked passersby. It notes, “Catching a whiff of exhaled breath here or there is very unlikely to lead to infection. The amount of time you spend in close proximity or in a shared room with an infected person affects how much virus you actually inhale. This will dictate your risk of becoming infected.” (See page 14 and also the color-coded chart on page 19.)

The authors clearly consider wearing a mask a “civic duty” and they even publish a rather tortured mnemonic and illustration to drive home their point. Everyone should wear masks when outdoors, they say. But should a maskless person momentarily pass by, the chance of infection is very slight. Exchanging words with them does enhance the risk. 

Finally, the document has really interesting guidance for protecting oneself while traveling in shared quarters such as in planes, hired automobiles, and public transit, more specific than I’ve seen anywhere else up to now. Also they delve into the effectiveness of air filtration technologies, disinfection techniques, and more. Worth a look, I think.
For cohousing communities wondering about reopening their common houses, it includes more information than usual on indoor safety:  how to make an indoor air filter using a fan, where to stand to protect yourself from a person with an ill-fitting mask, specific info on how long it takes for air to exchange in rooms, and good quality diagrams and illustrations.

Categories: Resources

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