Following up on John’s post immediately below, I want to look at masks and the success we’ve had in New York.
First, Josh Marshall highlights this story about the hair stylists who tested positive in Missouri, possibly exposing 140 clients and 6 co-workers. Everyone wore masks, and nobody was infected, as far as they know. Anecdotal but interesting.
This study of German transmission rates estimates that universal masking reduces the spread of COVID by up to 40%. It uses a synthetic control which means that the devil is in the details of how they constructed that control. If you want German anecdata, the city of Jena, which masked up early with Germanic levels of compliance, appears to have stopped the virus by doing so (along with locking down, of course).
Looking at our new New York State positive test tracker, which documents the 50,000 tests we do per day (more, per capita, than any other state and probably any other country), I don’t see a big bump in positive cases from the protesters, who are all eligible for a test. It’s probably too soon to conclude anything from that, but so far so good. We also didn’t get a Memorial Day bump, unlike a lot of other states. That’s probably because our population generally wears masks and distances — certainly the peaceful protests had almost universal masking, and they were outdoors, and outdoor activity seems to be significantly lower risk.
Masking is not a panacea but universal masking, plus distancing, plus handwashing, plus limited indoor activity, plus test, track and isolate seems to be working in New York State, so far. We’re also reopening very carefully and watching the numbers. It’s all part of the patience that comes from knowing death. It looks like other states will learn that painful lesson soon enough.
(By the way, Moscow Mitch is full of shit when he says that there’s a “double standard” where politicians don’t criticize protesters but then don’t allow church services. Church happens inside, protests happen outside, and that makes a big difference. In New York, churches can hold services at 25% occupancy in Phase 2.)