Now that Trump is a lame duck, the. Centers for Disease Control seems to have become more activist and not looking over its shoulder to see if he approves of their recommendations. In the light of record hospitalizations, they have issued the four basic preventative measures that all of us can take, including for the first time asking people to wear masks at all times whenever they leave their homes, moving away from Trump’s ambivalent attitudes to mask-wearing and moving closer to Joe Biden’s stance on it.
* Wear a mask.
* Wash your hands.
* Avoid crowds.
* Stay 6 feet from people who don’t live with you.
The CDC on Friday for the first time recommended that people wear masks at all times when they’re not home, saying the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. has entered a phase of “high level transmission.”
The guidance, included in a new report, advised state and local officials to impose mask mandates for indoor settings as part of broader mitigation efforts to control the spread of the virus. It echoes President-elect Joe Biden’s call for mask orders that a number of red state governors have rejected.
The agency’s new report includes a number of other public health measures local and state governments can take to help get the pandemic under control, including issuing policies restricting nonessential indoor gatherings, like indoor dining, and beefing up contact tracing efforts.
Weekly #COVID19 hospitalization rates have been climbing sharply and are now at an all-time high. We must continue to protect ourselves and others. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Avoid crowds. Stay 6 feet from people who don’t live with you. Learn more: https://t.co/qpYN3dSJL8. pic.twitter.com/sJnEKL3b2A
— CDC (@CDCgov) December 4, 2020
There is no guarantee, of course, that doing any one of those things by themselves will protect you. You should do as many as you can. By doing all of them, you can make the probability of getting infected quite small. Since many people do not have an intuitive grasp of probability, I am passing on a metaphor that I heard an epidemiologist give that captures the essence of this idea. He says that each preventative measure is like a slice of Swiss cheese with randomly distributed holes that can let the virus pass through. But the more layers of cheese one has, the more likely it is that the holes in one slice are blocked by cheese in the others, thus greatly reducing the chance of the virus getting through.