The study shows how small slips can contribute to the spread of disease.
On Friday, the CDC released a report tracking the spread of deltas in a California elementary school. It's tempting to turn this into a blatantly irresponsible story - the teacher was not vaccinated and read to class without a mask. But then, it offers many warnings about how our public health system is coming under strain as we shut down two years after the pandemic began. It also re-emphasizes how delta type ensures that small errors can easily turn into big problems.
The school in question was a small school with just over 200 students and 24 staff members. This is an elementary school, which means that its student population is smaller than the vaccine limit. However, the school did a number of things right. Classrooms were small and separate classrooms were kept in separate rooms, doors and windows were kept open and air purifying equipment was installed. There has also been an established policy of using masks in place.
But not all was well. The CDC notes that two of the 24 employees have not been vaccinated. While the vaccine can clearly transmit the delta type, they are less likely to become infected and, in the worst case, they will become infected for a short time.
One unvaccinated staff member, a teacher, experienced cramps on May 19, problems they attribute to allergies. (I think the internal conversation “Allergy or Covid?” is one of the things we have been doing for the past year.) The person went for the test but had a systemic problem: It took two days to get the test results. back. Then this problem was exacerbated by a number of inappropriate options. The teacher gave a lot of information in diagnosing his allergy and continued to study. And during that time, while reading in class, the teacher took off his mask.
On May 23, test results came back and the teacher confirmed the infection.Advertising
At this point, the school district has responded well again, closing classrooms and launching extensive experiments. But at this point, at least 12 of the 22 students in the class were infected (the parents of two of the students declined the test). In two rows of chairs near the teacher, eight of the nine students tested were injured. In the remainder of the class, 28% of the students were infected. Perhaps it was through some informal interaction between students outside the classroom at the school. Six cases occurred in that class, although at least two infected people woke up in the sleep of another person hosted by the student's parents. Four other separate cases were identified in other classes. It is not recognizable that these cases were generated through contact at the school or through community outreach. A number of cases were also diagnosed in the community simultaneously. All of these viruses were closely related to the teacher-delta version of the teacher, so their relationship to the school outbreak is unclear. However, the CDC notes that the community has more than 72 percent of vaccinations, which may limit the spread of the disease. Fortunately, a person with this disease does not need to be hospitalized.
All of this shows how difficult it is to get things done, given that deltas are contagious and persist in most communities in the United States. The school had reasonable policies, although they were forced to vaccinate all staff. These policies are violated by a series of problems that do not seem illogical at all. Before the pandemic, it was common for people to go to work, and confusing COVID-19 with allergies is likely to be a widespread experience. We've probably all had exceptions to the best elements of public health, like wearing a mask at one point or another over the past year and a half. We as a community have decided to accept a round of test results for two days.
All of these easy bugs get magnified as the community expands, and that's generally true. Now in many parts of the United States, political leaders are even trying to persuade schools to implement policies. Which is what was used in the city Marine intervention.
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