Random Effects Key to Containing Epidemics

To control an epidemic, authorities will often impose varying degrees of lockdown. In the journal Chaos, scientists have discovered, using mathematics and computer simulations, why dividing a large population into multiple subpopulations that do not intermix can help contain outbreaks without imposing contact restrictions within those local communities. When infection numbers are high, random effects can be ignored. But subdividing a population can create communities so small that the random effects matter.

Face Shield or Face Mask to Stop the Spread of COVID-19?

If CDC guidelines aren’t enough to convince you that face shields alone shouldn’t be used to stop the spread of COVID-19, then maybe a new visualization study will. Researchers simulated coughing and sneezing from a mannequin’s mouth using a laser light to visualize droplets expelled. They tested a plastic face shield and found that they block the initial forward motion of the exhaled jet, however, aerosolized droplets are able to move around the visor with relative ease.