Teaching in a Mask
Students & professors indoors/in-person this autumn will be required to wear a mask
“Instructors and students who are present in an indoor classroom in fall will have to wear masks in the classroom.” — Exec Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Simmons
I recently had boba with a research colleague outside Price Center while wearing a 2-layer mask (she wasn’t wearing one but we were outside & both fully vaccinated) and she was mostly kinda able to understand me the entire hour. If I was wearing a mic (as all professors will have a personal one provided for us) then I know it’d be crystal clear.
“Boosters will be necessary; some have been slow to acknowledge that.”
— Vice Chair Chip Schooley (Vaccine Townhall, 8 .11.21)
Benefit of a 3rd Dose (Currently)
The current 3rd doses being provided in Israel & being considered in other countries are 3rd doses of the same vaccines people received earlier this year. They aren’t updated/upgraded vaccines based on Delta/Lambda/etc. Even so, they’re still useful for 2 key reasons:
1. It would optimize the immune response to make it more likely to sort out the amazing memory cells from the average ones [optimizes CD4 cells’ triggering B-cells generation of antibodies should an infection occur].
v2. NAb wane over time (hence the benefit of B-cells producing new ones). A 3rd dose would provide new frontline NAb (no B-cell production necessary) while at the same time optimizing the antibody-mediated response.
Public Health Messaging Utilitarianism
Even though there’s still debate regarding the degree to which the severity of COVID19 infections reflect a dose-response relationship, it would seem more beneficial to suggest that it does if it increases mask adherence among antimaskers & thus helps us end this pandemic sooner.
Perhaps in 10 years we’ll learn that wearing a mask didn’t reduce the severity of someone’s infection — or we’ll learn it did — but if we’re going to be wrong in one direction, I’d rather be wrong in the direction that increases mask adherence.
Also my parents live in Texas, so yeah, we need to do something about antimaskers.
2021 Flu Shot Mandate
We should require the flu shot again by November 1st like we did last year. I think it helped limit concerns of a twindemic & cross-cultural research indicates that countries with higher flu vaccination rates in 2019 had fewer COVID issues in 2020. As such, the flu shot could be considered one of those pieces of cheese to add to our overall layers of protection.
Individualism & Collectivism (Health Psychology Hypothesis)
As an individualistic country, it may be hard to convince people to wear masks based on the notion that wearing a mask will protect others. Psychological research on persuasion would suggest that informing people that getting infected while wearing a mask would lead to a less severe infection than if they became infected while not wearing a mask would lead to more mask adherence because now the benefit of wearing a mask is individualistic/egoistic. The benefit of wearing a mask is for oneself & no one else; that would increase adherence among antimaskers/antivaxxers.
Some (not all) of them are concerned about their individual liberty, even to the detriment of the general public or broader community. Thus, messaging that prioritizes their individual outcomes instead of focusing on other people would likely lead to more adherence.
“Masks can protect the individual from COVID-19 acquisition or, if acquired, possibly lead to a milder or asymptomatic infection” (Gandhi & Mare, 2020, p. 29).
Yes, Pfizer & Moderna are Safe For Pregnant Women
“Viral loads in the inhalation droplets/aerosols were inversely proportional to the distance between the virus spreader and the virus receiver.
A cotton mask led to an approximately 20% to 40% reduction in virus uptake compared to no mask… The N95 mask had the highest protective efficacy (approximately 80% to 90% reduction) of the various masks examined; however, infectious virus penetration was measurable even when the N95 mask was completely fitted to the face with adhesive tape.”
Ueki, H., Furusawa, Y., Iwatsuki-Horimoto, K., Imai, M., Kabata, H., Nishimura, H., & Kawaoka, Y. (2020). Effectiveness of face masks in preventing airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. MSphere, 5(5).
Wear A Mask
Masks provide protection to bystanders who are exposed to the aerosol emissions of potentially infected antimaskers (Asadi et al., 2020; Czypionka et al., 2021; Drenwick et al., 2020; Dugdale & Walenmsky, 2020; Gandhi et al., 2020; Howard et al., 2021; Liu et al., 2020; Lowery, 2020; Mitze et al., 2020; Sussman et al., 2020).
Speaking & shouting loudly increases emissions (Asadi et al., 2019)
(Asadi, S., Wexler, A.S., Cappa, C.D., Barreda, S., Bouvier, N.M., Ristenpart, W.D.: Aerosol emission and superemission during human speech increase with voice loudness. Scientific Reports. 9, 2348 (2019).
“Coughing from active virus spreaders increases the exposure of the few unlucky individuals who happen to walk through the resulting aerosol plumes.
However, despite the relatively small probability to obtain the exposure of aerosol particles, considering the amount of supermarket visits daily, the number of exposed individuals can become significant in large populations” (Ville Vuorinen et al., 2020).
Vuorinen, V., Aarnio, M., Alava, M., Alopaeus, V., Atanasova, N., Auvinen, M., … & Österberg, M. (2020). Modelling aerosol transport and virus exposure with numerical simulations in relation to SARS-CoV-2 transmission by inhalation indoors. Safety Science, 130, 104866.
‘Men show less physical distance from women wearing highly protective masks compared to sub-optimal masks’ (Marta Calbi et al., 2021).