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Masks work well on airplanes

Summary:
This story caught my eye: Early in the coronavirus pandemic, air travel looked like a risky endeavor. Some scientists even worried that airplanes could be sites of superspreading events. For example, in March a Vietnamese businesswoman with a sore throat and a cough boarded a flight in London. Ten hours later, she landed in Hanoi, Vietnam; she infected 15 people on the flight, including more than half of the passengers sitting with her in business class.Then in April, airlines shifted course. Many started requiring passengers to wear masks on planes — and some airlines even enforced the policy. . . .“Since April, Emirates has had a very rigid masking policy,” Freedman says. Not only does the airline require passengers and crew members to wear masks, but flight attendants

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This story caught my eye:

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, air travel looked like a risky endeavor. Some scientists even worried that airplanes could be sites of superspreading events. For example, in March a Vietnamese businesswoman with a sore throat and a cough boarded a flight in London. Ten hours later, she landed in Hanoi, Vietnam; she infected 15 people on the flight, including more than half of the passengers sitting with her in business class.

Then in April, airlines shifted course. Many started requiring passengers to wear masks on planes — and some airlines even enforced the policy.. .

“Since April, Emirates has had a very rigid masking policy,” Freedman says. Not only does the airline require passengers and crew members to wear masks, but flight attendants also make sure everyone keeps on their masks, as much as possible, throughout the entire flight.

Freedman looked at all Emirates flights from Dubai to Hong Kong between June 16 and July 5. What he found is quite telling. During those three weeks, Emirates had five flights with seven or more infected passengers on each flight, for a total of 58 coronavirus-positive passengers flying on eight-hour trips. And yet, nobody else on the planes — none of the other 1,500 to 2,000 passengers — picked up the virus, Freedman and his colleague report in the Journal of Travel Medicine.

And people wonder how Taiwan was able to control the virus.

Masks work.

PS. And this:

Universal masking in the U.S. could save some 130,000 lives by the end of February, according to projections by some of the nation’s top Covid-19 trackers at the University of Washington.

The analysis, which appeared Friday in the journal Nature Medicine, models the impact of different levels of social distancing on the trajectory of the pandemic from this fall to the end of February 2021. White House officials and public health leaders said they don’t expect a vaccine to be widely available until March or April, which means wearing masks and other non-pharmaceutical measures will likely be the only option to reduce the spread of the virus until the end of February.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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