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November 10, 2020

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My kids are still in school, with cases surging here too. Here's my thought on staying in school vs. not. If they are NOT in school, they find ways of hanging out together, and probably in less safe ways and that's how the spread happens. We've had quite a few cases at my son's HS (we get an email telling us about positive cases. There were 8 yesterday, YIKES) but, as you say, THEY SAY they weren't at school. I choose to believe what THEY are saying. ;)

My niece goes to school in the northeast and is on a hybrid, 2 days a week plan. There was a large Halloween party and now there are something like 20 kids in quarantine. Had those kids been allowed to hang out with their friends during the school day and at regular activities, where they are supervised and wearing masks/distancing, would things like these parties happen? I don't know, but I have a suspicion that being IN SCHOOL is actually better, virus-spread-wise, than NOT being in school. Kids want to see their friends and will find a way to do it and will not be as safe outside of the school environment.

I wouldn't go to the gym either. Probably not the retreat meetings unless it was a big, well ventilated room (and it seems like most church spaces aren't all that well ventilated). But I agree with your physician acquaintance -- I try to find the empty times to go places. Like, we hit the grocery store at 7:30 am. and shop at Sam's Club where we can use the app to pay and not have to go near anyone.

Get a carbon dioxide monitor. They are under $30 and they can give you a gauge of CO2/aerosols in the air. Look at Dr. Linsey Marr’s Twitter about hers and her gym. I only feel comfortable in places where the CO2 is equivalent to being outside.

20 unrelated people inside is NOT a good idea. Zoom would suffice.

Terrific article: https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-10-28/a-room-a-bar-and-a-class-how-the-coronavirus-is-spread-through-the-air.html

We can get more information and make informed decisions!

More information:

https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1fB5pysccOHvxphpTmCG_TGdytavMmc1cUumn8m0pwzo/mobilebasic

I understand - please believe I am one of those taking Covid very seriously (when I read about all the places you-Jamie-are going, INDOORS!!!, it makes me cringe. We are always masked, and almost always outdoors, when having to interact with anyone outside our immediate household, and all our groceries are delivered or curb-side, or we don't get them. No one takes in-person classes, and we only attend outdoor Mass - thank goodness we have it here. And we're homeschoolers, so we have the luxury of not worrying about how/when to go back to in-person classes). BUT. Are you aware of the study that says that in June 2020, in one month alone, 1 in 4 young adults considered suicide? That's a huge public health risk right there.

As for the planning meeting, I wouldn't go (see above). But there is also this:
https://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2020/08/19/evidence-based_guidelines_to_celebrate_mass_safely_are_working.html

But we continue to mask and isolate and see people only outside from a distance, because that is the risk balance we've chosen here. And I'd prefer to make this decision in a system that allows people to make the decision that's right for their family with as much info as possible, rather than have my info flow controlled to direct me into their preferred decision. Perhaps this is what makes it like outside-hospital birth. Perhaps it is important to support NOT overblowing statistics to try to control people's decisions? As in the stupid studies that suggest homebirth is dangerous because "births in the hospital elevator or taxi enroute are pretty much planned homebirths, and those are crazy risky, so no one should be allowed homebirth!!!" (Or the headlines trumpeting that Covid causes mental health issues, as if its physical effect leads to new cases of psychosis down the road, when they're actually referring to the increase in anxiety and depression already known to occur in post-intenstive care population and also currently occurring in non-covid general population because pandemic life sucks?) Perhaps it all comes down to understanding where actual risk lies, and dealing with that risk rather than trying to pretend all births (or situations, or people) are the same, risk-wise, while at the same time recognizing that the institutionally-preferred choice, be that repeat C-section or a socially-isolated society, also has real and measurable risks that MUST be counted into a true risk analysis, rather than ignored as unavoidable, because...well, they're NOT necessarily unavoidable.

And anywhere that is allowed to have schools open as daycare because it's desperately needed, but not as educational establishments because schools aren't allowed open at that level of community spread? That should just go. Learning stuff isn't going to magically increase the transmissibility. That's a bad misuse of whatever guidelines were written.

I am always so surprised (I should not be) by the different local responses to Covid. I am in NJ, 20 miles from NYC. Our local YMCA is operating at 25% capacity and even that is through appointment only. You sign up online for a 45 minute slot, scan in, do a Covid symptom questions checklist and temperature check and masks are mandatory. Locker room use is discouraged and each patron is given a spray bottle and rag to use to wipe down equipment before and after use. I’ve only used the elliptical and the pool and felt perfectly safe. I do believe there is space between absolutely nothing being open and safely operating. I’m happy my YMCA has found that common ground (for now - our numbers locally are surging as well).

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