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Keeping COVID-19 under control at school – Virden Empire Advance

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Under COVID-19 prevention measures how will schools be centres for learning and creativity this fall? Will young students, long-separated, be excited to see friends. Will they remember to distance? And what if they don’t?

What will play time be like?

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Will an atmosphere of caution, fear in some cases, be the rule to keep students obeying the COVID-19 rules?

Whether or not kids generally fight off the virus quite well is not the issue. The real issue is transmission. Kids, symptomatic or not, can spread the virus just like anyone else. There are many parents, grandparents, extended family members, local merchants, etc. who are at high risk if the virus is carried and spread.

Back in January, Virden’s Minor Hockey Day lost a team or two from the day’s events due to the flu (virus). I believe it was Neepawa where some 60 kids were out of school with the flu that week. Schools and day cares are great places for the spread of a virus.

A recent New York Times article tells the story of a mushrooming COVID-19 outbreak within days of a Jerusalem high school opening to students a few months ago. The disease raged among students, teachers, and families. “The lesson… even communities that have gotten the spread of the virus under control need to take strict precautions.” They advise smaller classes, mask wearing, desks six feet apart and adequate ventilation.

If Manitoba goes ahead with plans for in-school learning, I suggest there needs to be health protection hired on – people with the mandate to monitor children and ensure masks are worn, hands are sanitized and physical distances is maintained. They should also be tasked with communicating with students’ parents when necessary. And I am sure that special cleaning protocol could fall under their job description as well.

This is not the job of teachers. Educational Assistants hired to help special needs students should not be asked to bear the health-check responsibility either.

The Manitoba government will provide up to $100,000 to renew and extend a funding agreement for 2020-21 for the Respect in School (RIS) program. It’s an online curriculum training at no cost to adults who work with students. “With the resumption of in-class learning in Manitoba this fall, students will require emotionally, psychologically and physically supportive school environments to help address anxiety and distress they may have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen.

That is great and will probably be put to good use. However, presumably the school divisions have saved a good chunk of change as buses sat idle since mid-March, janitorial would be less, etc. They will need to spend that saved money to make the new 2020-21 school year work.

 

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CDC changes, then retracts, web posting on how virus spreads – Airdrie Today

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NEW YORK — The top U.S. public health agency stirred confusion by posting — and then taking down — an apparent change in its position on how easily the coronavirus can spread from person to person through the air.

But officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say their position has not really changed and that the post last week on the agency’s website was an error that has been taken down.

It was “an honest mistake” that happened when a draft update was posted before going through a full editing and approval process, said Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases.

The post suggested that the agency believes the virus can hang in the air and spread over an extended distance. But the agency continues to believe larger and heavier droplets that come from coughing or sneezing are the primary means of transmission, Butler said.

Most CDC guidance about social distancing is built around that idea, saying that about 6 feet is a safe buffer between people who are not wearing masks.

In interviews, CDC officials have acknowledged growing evidence that the virus can sometimes be transmitted on even smaller, aerosolized particles or droplets that spread over a wider area. Certain case clusters have been tied to events in which the virus appeared to have spread through the air in, for example, a choir practice. But such incidents did not appear to be common.

Public health experts urge people to wear masks, which can stop or reduce contact with both larger droplets and aerosolized particles.

But for months, agency officials said little about aerosolized particles. So when the CDC quietly posted an update Friday that discussed the particles in more detail, the agency’s position appeared to have changed. The post said the virus can remain suspended in the air and drift more than 6 feet. It also emphasized the importance of indoor ventilation and seemed to describe the coronavirus as the kind of germ that can spread widely through the air.

The post caused widespread discussion in public health circles because of its implications. It could mean, for example, that hospitals might have to place infected people in rooms that are specially designed to prevent air from flowing to other parts of the hospital.

But the CDC is not advising any changes in how far people stay away from each other, how they are housed at hospitals or other measures, Butler said.

The CDC has come under attack for past revisions of guidance during the pandemic, some of which were driven by political pressure by the Trump administration.

Butler said there was no external political pressure behind the change in this instance. “This was an internal issue,. And we’re working hard to address it and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

In a statement released Monday, the CDC said the revisions to the “How COVID-19 Spreads” page happened “without appropriate in-house technical review.”

“We are reviewing our process and tightening criteria for review of all guidance and updates before they are posted to the CDC website,” the statement said.

At least one expert said the episode could further chip away at public confidence in the CDC.

“The consistent inconsistency in this administration’s guidance on COVID-19 has severely compromised the nation’s trust in our public health agencies,” said Dr. Howard Koh, a Harvard University public health professor who was a high-ranking official in the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration.

“To rectify the latest challenge, the CDC must acknowledge that growing scientific evidence indicates the importance of airborne transmission through aerosols, making mask wearing even more critical as we head into the difficult fall and winter season,” Koh said in a statement.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

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CDC Now Warns COVID Can Be Spread This Way – Yahoo Canada Shine On

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The CDC updated its guidance about how you could catch COVID-19, saying the disease can be transmitted by aerosols that hang in the air. That means you’ll want to avoid poorly-ventilated indoor spaces where people are doing the following things—read on, and to protect your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.” data-reactid=”12″>The CDC updated its guidance about how you could catch COVID-19, saying the disease can be transmitted by aerosols that hang in the air. That means you’ll want to avoid poorly-ventilated indoor spaces where people are doing the following things—read on, and to protect your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.

When a Person Sneezes

Ill man wearing grey sweater, yellow hat and spectacles, blowing nose and sneeze into tissue
Ill man wearing grey sweater, yellow hat and spectacles, blowing nose and sneeze into tissue

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The droplets can really get you when someone sneezes. National Geographic went to a lab at MIT and found scientist Lydia Bourouiba studying sneezes: "Slowed to 2,000 frames per second, video and images from her lab show that a fine mist of mucus and saliva can burst from a person’s mouth at nearly a hundred miles an hour and travel as far as 27 feet."” data-reactid=”25″>The droplets can really get you when someone sneezes. National Geographic went to a lab at MIT and found scientist Lydia Bourouiba studying sneezes: “Slowed to 2,000 frames per second, video and images from her lab show that a fine mist of mucus and saliva can burst from a person’s mouth at nearly a hundred miles an hour and travel as far as 27 feet.”

When a Person Sings

Male And Female Students Singing In Choir At Performing Arts SchoolMale And Female Students Singing In Choir At Performing Arts School
Male And Female Students Singing In Choir At Performing Arts School

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=""Singing in a room for an extended period of time, in close contact with lots of people and no ventilation—that’s a recipe for disaster," Shelly Miller, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, told NPR. "In preliminary research published on July 13, Miller and her fellow researchers found that singers, as well as certain wind and brass instrumentalists, generate respiratory aerosols at high rates. In other words, they spew a lot of droplets into the air when they warble or blow."” data-reactid=”38″>“Singing in a room for an extended period of time, in close contact with lots of people and no ventilation—that’s a recipe for disaster,” Shelly Miller, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, told NPR. “In preliminary research published on July 13, Miller and her fellow researchers found that singers, as well as certain wind and brass instrumentalists, generate respiratory aerosols at high rates. In other words, they spew a lot of droplets into the air when they warble or blow.”

When a Person Talks

Two friends watching media content in a smart phoneTwo friends watching media content in a smart phone
Two friends watching media content in a smart phone
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Yes, just talking can spread COVID-19. "The act of speaking generates droplets that vary in size. Larger droplets pose less of a risk, since they ‘fall quickly to the ground,’ according to the researchers, but smaller ones can dehydrate and linger in the air, essentially acting like an aerosol," reports Health.com, relaying a correspondence published in the New England Journal of Medicine, by researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania "This ‘expand[s] the spatial extent of emitted infectious particles,’ the authors said."” data-reactid=”55″>Yes, just talking can spread COVID-19. “The act of speaking generates droplets that vary in size. Larger droplets pose less of a risk, since they ‘fall quickly to the ground,’ according to the researchers, but smaller ones can dehydrate and linger in the air, essentially acting like an aerosol,” reports Health.com, relaying a correspondence published in the New England Journal of Medicine, by researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania “This ‘expand[s] the spatial extent of emitted infectious particles,’ the authors said.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="RELATED: COVID Mistakes You Should Never Make” data-reactid=”56″>RELATED: COVID Mistakes You Should Never Make

When a Person Breathes

man relaxing after work breathing fresh air sitting at home office desk with laptopman relaxing after work breathing fresh air sitting at home office desk with laptop
man relaxing after work breathing fresh air sitting at home office desk with laptop

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="COVID-19 can be spread even when a person just breathes, says the CDC. A study from the United States National Academy of Sciences, Engineering&amp;Medicine confirmed it: "The study reported that even breathing or talking could possibly release tiny particles (Bioaerosols) carrying the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID 19," writes author Ramananda Ningthoujam. "The team explained that the virus can stay suspended in the air in the ultrafine mist that is produced when infected people exhale. They recommended wearing masks while going out in public places."” data-reactid=”69″>COVID-19 can be spread even when a person just breathes, says the CDC. A study from the United States National Academy of Sciences, Engineering&Medicine confirmed it: “The study reported that even breathing or talking could possibly release tiny particles (Bioaerosols) carrying the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID 19,” writes author Ramananda Ningthoujam. “The team explained that the virus can stay suspended in the air in the ultrafine mist that is produced when infected people exhale. They recommended wearing masks while going out in public places.”

When a Person Coughs

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=""To help stop the spread of germs," says the CDC:” data-reactid=”78″>“To help stop the spread of germs,” says the CDC:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Throw used tissues in the trash
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss this essential list of 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”83″>And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss this essential list of 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus

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CDC updates guidance to warn coronavirus can be transmitted through the air by breathing — but then removes it – CBS News

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its COVID-19 guidance to acknowledge the risk that the coronavirus can be transmitted through airborne respiratory particles — but then edited its website again Monday morning to take that information down, saying it was still being reviewed.

Before it was taken down, the updated guidance said the coronavirus is most commonly spread “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols,” which are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or even just breathes, and which can remain airborne for a period of time. The virus can then spread to other people who inhale it into their airways.

Many scientists and health experts have been warning for months that COVID-19 can spread through airborne respiratory particles, not just through larger droplets from an infected person coughing or sneezing nearby.

“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes),” the CDC’s updated, but then deleted, guidance said. “In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.”

But on Monday — as the number of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 approached 200,000 — the CDC updated the page again to remove the information about the risk of airborne transmission, with a disclaimer at the top: “A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website,” the notice read. “CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.”

When asked by CBS News what the issues were with the language on airborne transmission, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said, “It’s poorly written. The bottom line is aerosol transmission [is] possible but not the main way that [it] spreads.”

CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook explained, “It may not be the main way it spreads, but there’s good evidence that the virus can spread through the air under certain circumstances at distances greater than 6 feet.”

The page still states that the virus is spread “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks,” but the information about tiny airborne droplets, like those in aerosols, has been removed. The page also no longer lists breathing as a way to transmit the virus. 

Instead, the page reads: “These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.” The Monday update also says COVID-19 is primarily spread between people who have close contact (within 6 feet), and includes that it may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. 

In July, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged the airborne transmission of “micro-droplets” as a possible cause of COVID-19 infections. WHO’s acknowledgment came after 239 scientists signed an open letter about the risk of airborne transmission. 

Very few diseases — tuberculosis, chicken pox and measles — have been deemed transmissible through aerosols. However, Japan, for example, had been operating for months on the assumption that tiny, aerosolized particles in crowded settings were fueling the spread of the coronavirus. Back in February, Japan adopted a strategy to fight airborne transmission of COVID-19 by telling residents to avoid “the three Cs” — cramped spaces, crowded areas and close conversation.

The CDC’s guidance also explains that the closer and longer a person with COVID-19 is with others, the higher the risk of spreading the virus to those people. 

On Friday, the CDC also updated its testing guidance after nearly a month of controversy over the role of political interference from officials at the Department of Health and Human Services overriding the CDC’s scientists. In late August, the CDC’s website was quietly revised to say that people who had been exposed to someone with coronavirus but weren’t showing symptoms might not need testing. That caused an uproar among medical experts because asymptomatic people can easily spread the virus to others.

The new guidance now says, “Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

Many public health experts have long advised that even asymptomatic people should be tested if they suspect they’ve been in contact with someone who was infected. In July, a model published by the National Academy of Sciences, showed an estimated 50% of coronavirus cases may be spread by people who aren’t showing symptoms. 

Lucy Craft contributed to this report.

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