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The Mask Debate; Preventing More New York-Sized Clusters

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At the White House yesterday members of the Corona virus taskforce showed a chart with what they called goals of community mitigation really highlighting that. This begins in the middle in the end with community. Community mitigation meaning many more weeks of social distancing. All across the country officials said. The goal is achievable now but that goal is to keep the number of people who are going to die in this country to one hundred thousand. American prepared were the likelihood that there will be a one hundred thousand. Americans die from this virus. The answer is yes we as so bring a number as that is we should be prepared for it. If you want to compare that to something remember just under sixty thousand. American soldiers died in the Vietnam War. Is it going to be that much? I hope not and I think the more we push on the mitigation the less likelihood it would be that and one hundred thousand people. Dead is if the goal is met. If it isn't that number could be even higher coming up. What else officials predicted. And whether we should all be wearing masks when we go outside plus what. A nineteen ninety-five heatwave. Can tell us about how to help each other in this pandemic this is corona virus daily from NPR. I'm Kelly mcevers. It's Wednesday April. I thank you Mr President. I if I can have the first slide. Please okay so at yesterday's White House briefing. Dr Deborah burks talked about another chart next slide. Please this one showed the number of Cova nineteen cases in each of the fifty states. But I think it shows in stark reality the difference between New York and New Jersey and other states with similar populations and urban areas each state. Its own line. And on this chart the line for each state gradually slopes up as it moves through time but New York and New Jersey's lines shoot up much higher and much faster as many of the cases in those states happened before social distancing in Burke says the high concentrations of cases in those states could be skewing the data. That's based in heavily ladened by the data that has come in from New York and New Jersey and Connecticut. Which means is. It's possible that if states social distancing before they had such high concentrations the model might play out differently over time. Predictions she said are only based on the data. You have swapped giving back to that. That's really an important slide that Dr Burke showed after Anthony. Fauci jumped in to agree the cluster. That are Not New York not New Jersey if we can suppress that from any kind of a spike the numbers could be significantly. Lower than what? We're talking about social distancing. Even before community see widespread cases Ouchi said is critical and it has to continue even when we start to see the number of people dying. Go down so what we're going to see. That's got a brace ourselves in the next several days to a week or so. We're GONNA continue to see things go up. We cannot be discouraged by that because the mitigation is actually working and will work the slide. The Doctor Burke showed where you saw New York cluster. There is new thinking about face masks right now the CDC CDC says only people who need facemasks should wear them people who are sick or people who are taking care of someone who sick but that advice seems at least partly informed by ongoing shortages like regular people. Wear masks won't be enough masks for healthcare workers now some public health experts argue. We should all wear face masks when we need to go out in public and as NPR's Alison Aubrey reports the CDC is reconsidering. Its recommendation a few months ago. It may have looked silly to wear a face mask to the grocery store but no longer former. Fda Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says if everyone wore facemask when they go out it could help slow. The spread masks have long been demonstrated to be helpful in the setting of infectious disease. He says feast masks are used widely by members of the public in some places that are thought to have successfully managed their outbreaks including South Korea and Hong Kong. Of course it is important to keep up their social distancing hand washing and sanitizing surfaces. But God leap says masks can offer an additional layer of protection. If you're a person who has the corona virus and your mildly symptomatic or your asymmetric and don't even know that you have symptoms at all and you have a mask on. You're going to be far. Less likely transmit the infection the head of the Chinese. Cdc is on record saying that he thinks the US's making a mistake by not promoting the wider use of masks for the public and the trump administration says it is reviewing the current policy. Which for now says the only people who need to wear a mask or those who are sick or taking care of someone who is John. Fahim is the medical director for the Emergency Department at UCSF. He says there are good arguments. Be made to broaden the use of masks. It absolutely makes sense if you if you really are talking about Minimizing the mechanism by which this virus spreads masking does seem to make sense the challenges. Do we have enough masks. There's no question that supplies are limited and there are many reports of shortages. So people have started making their own masks and last night. When president trump was asked about the mask policy he said people could consider using a scarf to cover their faces. I mean most people have scarfs and scarfs are very good and they can use a scarf. And what are we talking about? A limited period of time. It's not clear how much protection scarf may offer. Scott Gottlieb says he agrees that medical masks are needed in hospitals and healthcare settings. So you really don't WanNa pull any kind of medical masks out of the system but as an alternative. Cdc Cashew guidelines on advising people on how to construct their own cotton masks. Those cotton masks should provide a reasonable degree of protection from people being able to transmit the virus. Deborah burks of the White House Corona Virus Task Force says. They are reviewing the mask policy and pure science correspondent. Allison Aubrey in the summer of. Nineteen ninety-five a heatwave. Hit Chicago. That was so hot. It worked train rails. Hospitals were packed. Weren't enough emergency workers. Part of the power grid failed in the end. More than seven hundred people died. Many of them older people died alone. The one thing that did save some lives was whether or not people had social connections and that could be a good lesson for us now says sociologist and nyu professor. Eric Kleinberg. He studied that heat wave and he talked about it with all things. Considered host El searching people getting sick in a heatwave typically failed to recognize that their body's breaking down and so the thing that really saves you is if someone recognizes your symptoms and says you know you need to cool down with some water or we need to get you some air conditioning and so actually saving someone in the heat wave is very simple but it requires social contact. So there's a similar profile of vulnerability we really have to be concerned about older people about people with underlying health conditions. And you know to be honest. I'm a little concerned about the language of social distance thing that we've been hearing in public health officials and government. Because really what we need is physical distancing. Luke's keep apart social solidarity needs social solidarity more than ever because there are people who are at risk who are going to need a helping hand. If they're going to get through that that can be a knock on the door. Maybe a delivery of some food or medications. You know help making sure a person who is in he gets the care that could keep them alive and so I think the wrong messages. Protect yourself turn your back on the rest of the world and wait for this to end the right messages you stay at home reached out to people in need well. Let's talk about that. I mean there is something that happens to a community when there's forced isolation you know before and during these various lockdowns were sitting. We're seeing in various cities. We have been witnessing people hoarding food. According medical supplies toilet paper basically acting for themselves and not for the greater good. Is there something that you as a sociologist can put your finger on that makes people flip a switch and act selfishly rather than come together and think of the greater good when you don't believe that the government is telling you the truth when you don't believe that Others a public insurance that will provide you the care and support that you need. The message becomes take care of yourself. Protect yourself and your family because that's the only way you're going to get through and if we can somehow reach for the better version of ourself to check in on one another to volunteer. The way that people in the medical professions are just going to hot spots to help the way that people who can are still delivering food if we can muster that better part of ourselves we had a chance to turn it around to build something. Incredible when is over? I am so glad that you're saying this because you know another thing. I've been curious about during this social distancing. Is You know personally. I've been hearing from people I haven't heard from in years. It seems like in some ways we are actually reaching out to each other more during the socially distance time compared to the time when we had all the freedom in the world to connect so. I'm Chris. Do you think this experience might actually leave our social networks stronger in some ways when all this passes while. I think a lot depends on what happened here in the next week or two. If we can flatten the curve if we can stay at home if we can prevent us from being as deadly as it might be a real collective accomplishment. Sociologist Air Kleinberg talking to NPR host. Elsa Chang Right now public health officials are trying to sort out. Many people actually have covert nineteen. But don't have any symptoms the data suggests it's at least twenty five percent and some say it could be as high as fifty percent. There is one symptom you might have heard about. And that is the loss of taste or smell. This was first brought to our attention by a group called the EMT UK representing ear nose and throat surgeons who noticed it in some patients and even though the connection is not proven they and other doctors put out statements last month saying hey there might be something going on here right so I got a lot of quote. Everything like cardboard and I can't smell anything. I got a lot of of of those sort of descriptive term. That's Rachel K at Rutgers University talking to NPR's Daily Science podcast shortwave. She is a member of group representing ear-nose-and-throat doctors in the US that has requested that loss of taste and smell be added to the official list of screening tools for the corona virus. The group is working toward a peer reviewed. Study in meantime if you have suddenly lost her sense of smell or taste the best thing to do is to talk to. Your Doctor. Do Not automatically assume you have cove in. Nineteen we've got a link. To the full shortwave episode on the debate about this and how some traditional scientific processes are being bypass during the pandemic in episode notes for. More News on the corona virus. Listen to your local public radio station. I'm Kelly mcevers. Thanks for listening. We will be back with more tomorrow.

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