Harvard study says flying can be safer than eating at a restaurant

Using these and other measures as part of a layered approach could push the risk of catching the virus on a plane below that of other activities, including grocery shopping and eating at a restaurant, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded.

“Though a formidable adversary, SARS-CoV-2 need not overwhelm society’s capacity to adapt and progress,” the report said. “It is possible to gain a measure of control and to develop strategies that mitigate spread of the disease while allowing a careful reopening of sectors of society.”

This study, from the industry-funded Aviation Public Health Initiative, is likely to be cited by airlines and plane manufacturers as they continue to try to convince the public that it is safe to fly as long as proper precautions are taken.

The Harvard study follows the recent release of a Defense Department study that concluded that wearing a mask continuously while flying could reduce the spread of the virus because of how air is filtered and circulated on an airplane. Along with previous research, the two studies further bolster the case for wearing face coverings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recently updated its guidance on face coverings to say that it “strongly recommends” that masks be worn on all forms of public and commercial transportation.

The Harvard team included experts on environmental health, industrial hygiene and infectious diseases whose goal was to develop a “comprehensive understanding of the intersection between the science informing SARS-CoV-2 transmission and the operations in the aviation environment.”

In this instance, they focused on strategies to protect people during what they called the “gate-to-gate” part of their journey. A second study, expected in early 2021, will look at the science and recommend strategies to safely manage the “curb-to-curb” portion of a traveler’s journey.

It is being funded by airlines, airports and aircraft manufacturers.

Leonard Marcus, founding co-director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, a collaborative effort of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Kennedy School of Government, said that the industry’s involvement with the study did not influence the team’s findings.

“There were open conversations back and forth and we were very adamant about maintaining our independence,” Marcus said. “We felt that the lines were drawn well enough for us to conduct our independent research.” He declined to say how much the study cost.

Since the pandemic began, many have viewed air travel with suspicion in part because it places people in an enclosed space with others for a significant amount of time — behavior that runs counter to much of the guidance from health officials.

The CDC, for example, continues to caution that air travel presents some risks because of those factors.

Researchers have identified examples where the virus may have been transmitted while travelers were on board an aircraft. In one instance, a woman flying from London to Hanoi in March appears to have infected as many as 15 other passengers and crew members. In another case, researchers

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In New Hampshire, 2 COVID-19 Deaths; More Restaurant Exposure

CONCORD, NH — Three more establishments in New Hampshire are reporting possible COVID-19 community exposure after 129 more people tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday.

The State Joint Information Center said a positive test result was at Paddy’s American Grille on 27 International Drive in Portsmouth between Oct. 12 and Oct. 16 and was potentially infectious. The state has determined that there was potential community exposure in the bar area of the restaurant.

Another person has also tested positive for COVID-19 at La Vista Italian Cuisine at the River Walk Resort at Loon Mountain and may have been potentially infectious to patrons who were at the establishment during the afternoon or evening of Oct. 17, Oct. 18, Oct. 20, and Oct. 22.

Also, a player at the Concord Casino at The Draft in Concord, who was playing at a gaming table on Oct. 14, has also tested positive for COVID-19 and may have been infectious to others.

“DHHS has conducted contact investigations on all cases associated with these potential community exposures and is notifying known close contacts directly,” the State Joint Information Center said. “However, DHHS is making this public notification because there may be additional individuals at the location during those days and times who were exposed to the coronavirus.”

These possible establishment community exposures follow five other exposures announced on Friday — at The Barley House and The Draft in Concord, the Daniel Street Tavern and The Goat Bar and Grill in Portsmouth, and the Bantam Grill in Peterborough.

Two more elderly men have died. One lived in Merrimack County while the other lived in Hillsborough County. Both were 80 years of age or older and lived in long-term care settings.

Another 129 new positive tests were also announced Saturday including 19 children and 76 were female. Most of the tests were polymerase chain reaction specimens. More than 8,500 specimens were collected Friday with previous test counts upgraded slightly and 248 tests pending for a 1.3 percent positivity rate.

Twenty-eight of the new patients live in Rockingham County, 24 live in Hillsborough County outside of Manchester and Nashua, 11 live in Merrimack, and five reside in Nashua.

According to the state, 10,238 people have contracted COVID-19 in New Hampshire while 8,819 have recovered from the virus, about 86 percent.

Nineteen individuals are hospitalized but only two of the new cases had no identified risk factors.

More than 329,000 people have been tested via 574,187 tests.

Around 4,350 people are under public health monitoring.


Stop The Spread Of COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus is spread through respiratory droplets, usually through coughing and sneezing, and exposure to others who are sick or might be showing symptoms.

Health officials emphasize residents should follow these recommendations:

  • Avoid any domestic and international travel, especially on public transportation such as buses, trains, and airplanes.

  • Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet from other people, including distancing while in waiting areas or lines.

  • When you can’t practice 6 feet of

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Coronavirus cases linked to live music event at Virginia restaurant, attendees asked to self-quarantine

A live music event at a restaurant in Henrico, Va., is linked to a “cluster” of cases of the novel coronavirus, local health officials said this week when encouraging residents who may have been exposed to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 over the next 14 days. 

Anyone who attended the live music event on Oct. 9 at JJ’s Grille on Staples Mill Road may have been exposed to the coronavirus, said officials with the Henrico County Health Department (HCHD) in a news release posted to the Virginia Department of Health website. 

Dr. Danny Avula, the director of Richmond’s and Henrico’s health districts, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the restaurant voluntarily closed for a temporary period of time after the cases were identified. (iStock)

Dr. Danny Avula, the director of Richmond’s and Henrico’s health districts, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the restaurant voluntarily closed for a temporary period of time after the cases were identified. (iStock)

“While there have been no reported cases of exposure associated with live music or group events held on dates before October 9, HCHD is still evaluating the potential for further exposures and would recommend that individuals who have visited the establishment after October 9 monitor for symptoms and consider being tested for COVID-19 infection,” health officials said. 

Dr. Danny Avula, the director of Richmond’s and Henrico’s health districts, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the restaurant voluntarily closed for a temporary period of time after the cases were identified. 


“In an office setting, you know everybody who works in the office and spent 15 minutes within 6 feet of an affected individual, but at these types of settings, it’s harder to do that,” Avula said of why the health district publically announced the outbreak, as a “lack of cooperation with contact tracing efforts and delays in testing” impacted health official’s efforts to notify everyone who could have been exposed, the newspaper reported. 


Officials did not provide a number of people who have tested positive, but Avula said some 75 people, including staff and restaurant patrons, have been contacted. 


Source Article

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COVID-19 Community Exposure Reported At Hudson Restaurant

CONCORD, NH — At least 17 recent cases of COVID-19 are connected to a pizza restaurant that hosts karaoke in Hudson, according to a health alert.

Patrons of Fat Katz Food and Drink on Derry Road in Hudson, between Oct. 2, and Oct. 9, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

“DHHS has identified at least 17 cases of COVID-19 associated with this outbreak,” the State Joint Information Center said Friday, “which includes one individual who went to the establishment while aware of their COVID-19 diagnosis when they were supposed to be on isolation, and a second person who went to the establishment when they were knowingly supposed to be on quarantine — both of whom potentially exposed others.”

In a Facebook post on Oct. 9, the restaurant said a part-time employee had tested positive and the establishment would be closed after staffers were tested. The post stated the restaurant was waiting for a response from health authorities at the state level.

However, state health officials said, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office was investigating “multiple violations” of New Hampshire Food Service guidance at Fat Katz.

While health officials said they had conducted extensive contact tracing with this outbreak, they were making the public notification because they believe there were others who were potentially exposed but not reached through the tracing process.

Anyone who visited the restaurant earlier this month should get tested, state officials said.

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State Health Information

COVID-19 can present with a wide range of symptoms including fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of taste or smell. Any person who develops new symptoms should stay home, limit their contact with others, immediately contact their healthcare provider and get tested for COVID-19. Guidance for self-quarantining is available here.

Whether or not you are experiencing symptoms, multiple testing options throughout the State are available to potentially exposed individuals. For persons without health insurance or a primary care provider, testing is available and can be scheduled by calling 603-271-5980 or through completing the online form located here. Other options for testing can be found here.

COVID-19 continues to circulate in our communities, so all people need to protect themselves and help prevent further community spread, by:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

  • Avoid close contact with others. When outside your home, keep a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others. This is known as social distancing.

  • Wear a cloth face covering that covers your mouth and nose to protect others when in public areas.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a

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