Coronavirus News Briefing – Oct. 13: If It’s Breezy Outdoors, Wear a Mask, Says Study

By Anna Breuer on 13 October 2021
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Jones Beach on Long Island

If it’s breezy outside, you should don a face mask on. That’s the conclusion of a study published in Physics of Fluids from researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.  They found that, when a person coughs outdoors, wind flowing in the same direction can propagate the virus faster over longer distances than under calm conditions.

“The study is significant in that it points to the increased infection risk that coughing in the same direction as the wind could bring about,” co-author Amit Agrawal told the American Institute of Physics. “Based on the results, we recommend wearing masks outdoors, particularly in breezy conditions.”

The researchers strongly encourage people to continue to cough into an elbow and face away from someone when coughing or sneezing, in order to reduce transmission when socializing outdoors.

The surge of office workers that was expected after Labor Day has yet to occur, according to data from Kastle Systems, a provider of access card systems that tracks such data.

As of Labor Day, 31% of the workforce was back in large office buildings monitored by Kastle, and the numbers have only crept up to 36% – a pandemic high –  in the week ending October 8.

As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 239.6 million Covid-19 cases and almost 4.9 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 216.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 91,399, a -21% change.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,938, a change of -4% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has as of Saturday recorded 45.4 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 737,771. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 34 million, and a death toll of 451,341, although experts believe that both numbers are in reality significantly higher.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 601,442, and has seen 21.6 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Wednesday, 217.2 million people in the United States – or 65.5% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 56.5%, or 187.7million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 403.6 million. Breaking this down further, 78.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 202.5million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 67.9% of the same group – or 175.5 million people – is fully vaccinated.

More than 3.76 billion people across the globe  have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a figure that roughly equates to 48.9% of the world’s population, a 0.1 percentage point increase in the past 24 hours. There remains, however, a stark gap between the percentage of individuals vaccinated in more advanced countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where at least 65% of the population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, where vaccination rates are in the single digits, if not lower.

Figures from the World Health Organization show that well-off countries are vaccinating people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to give a single dose to its citizens.

It is critical that the world do a better job of sharing vaccines with poorer nations.

Sharing vaccines is not merely a form of charity.  Rather, the equitable distribution of vaccines is in every country’s health and economic interest and no country will be able to move past the pandemic until other countries have recovered as well.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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