Dear Clinic Members,
For today’s newsletter we don’t have any big updates, but chiefly wish to share information about the wearing of masks.
We learned early in the pandemic that masks reduce the spread of Coronavirus, and have been recommending them in public indoor settings since the pandemic began. There was an incredibly-informative article in the Spanish newspaper El País in late 2020, which we think would be valuable to re-visit at this time. (Link follows below.)
The graphics in the article clearly illustrate the way that aerosol transmission happens in enclosed places, as well as the reduction in transmission that masks provide. These graphics were created long before the Delta and Omicron variants, but the mechanisms of transmission are exactly the same. The only difference with the new variants is that the amount of time needed for transmission is significantly shorter.
An indoor space can fill up gradually with contagious aerosol particles when an infected person is breathing in that space. For this reason, we want to remind our members who are seeing us in the office that their masks should remain in place covering both nose and mouth for the entire duration of their visit. We have often entered exam rooms to note that the waiting patient is raising their mask back into place. While we appreciate this courtesy, we want our members to understand that aerosol particles are being created regardless of whether they are alone in a room or have a staff member in the room with them. It’s also worth pointing out that if an infected-but- asymptomatic person were in the room before them, they could be exposing themselves to infectious particles that are still lingering in the air by taking their mask down.
On a related note, when Dr. Crandell or another staff member visits a clinic member in their home, they will wear a mask for the duration of their visit, but it is not necessary for the clinic members to wear a mask around us in their home. If a person is infected then they are filling the air in their home with aerosol particles, and these airborne particles won’t become deactivated by putting a mask on.
Do reach out with any questions you have about wearing masks.
We continue to have adequate Covid test supplies for our clinic members. We’re pleased to see that we have needed to use fewer of these in the last week as it means there are fewer people with infections and with positive contacts.
Lastly, we have been doing some freshening up of the office space — replacing furniture and repainting. We apologize in advance for any clutter you might encounter in the office during your visit.
Thank you for your support! Gratefully,
Dr. Crandell and Staff
We encourage you to read through the English language version of the El País article here. (Entitled “A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air” from 29 October 2020).