4 Sure Ways to Avoid Delta Now, Says Virus Expert
Tired of coronavirus? So is Dr. Ashish Jha, professor and Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. "We have all the tools we need to end this pandemic," he tweeted over Labor Day weekend, and the result was shared by thousands. What did he say, and what should you do to stay safe? Read on for Jha's four point plan—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Unsurprisingly but importantly, Jha said getting vaccinated is key to ending this nightmare. Besides "this horrible Delta variant, but we're also talking about future variants," he said on MSNBC. As far as "this thing coming to an end. I mean, what's striking about people who have not yet gotten vaccinated is—don't we all want to put this behind us? Like, aren't we ready to move on from COVID? I am. And the only way that's going to happen is if 90%, 85, 90% of people have immunity to this. We just need a lot more people getting vaccinated. And until that happens, we're going to continue struggling with this."
Do Rapid Tests
Jha has been promoting the use of rapid tests since last year. "Antigen tests require higher levels of virus than qPCR to return a positive result. There has been a significant pushback from those who believe it would be irresponsible to widely use a test that might miss many positive cases. But the frequency of testing and the speed of results counters that concern," he wrote in Time. "The qPCR tests are currently slowing laboratories to a crawl. If everyone took an antigen test today—even identifying only 50 percent of the positives—we would still identify 50 percent of all current infections in the country – five times more than the 10 percent of cases we are likely currently identifying because we are testing so few people."
Improve Indoor Air
"A lot of us worry a lot about transmission, nosocomial transmission, because if those places don't have good ventilation, if people are not wearing the right kind of masks, then I do worry that you're going to see nosocomial infections, you're going to see infections on the floor to doctors and nurses and you're going to see spread throughout the hospital," Jha said last year when asked about hospital transmission. "So this is a challenge. If that hospital has poor ventilation and does not protect its doctors and nurses, well, I'm pretty confident that we're going to get into a lot of trouble in those places." He also says schools need good ventilation.
"If we deploy first 3 aggressively and smartly"—vaccinations, rapid testing and improving indoor air—"We need only use 4th sparingly," says Jha. He later clarified: "Indoor masking is key in areas of high transmission. But when I pitch masking mandates to governors, others — they all ask: What's the off-ramp? When can mandates stop? My answer? Get transmission down. Then keep down using other 3 measures."
Virus Expert Said He'd Go to a Concert Hall Under These Circumstances
"In a community with high vax, ubiquitous testing infection numbers would be low. In that context, Would you go to an indoor concert unmasked if everyone was vaccinated/everyone had neg antigen test prior to concert And concert hall had great ventilation/filtration? I would," Jha tweeted.
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How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.