While the country’s attention is fixed on the rollout of the vaccine and the arrival of a new administration, the coronavirus pandemic rages on. In many parts of the U.S., case counts and deaths are still sky-high. And new variants of the virus are worrying scientists and prompting new restrictions around the globe.
Despite widespread COVID-19 fatigue, public health experts say practicing mitigation strategies is as crucial as ever to save lives. But which strategies have proven most effective?
There is still wide variation in what local and state governments are willing and able to enforce. Should masks be mandated or only encouraged? Should indoor dining be limited or halted? Different places have taken widely different approaches, and this patchwork approach has meant outbreaks keep flaring up again and again.
We know what works to slow the spread, says Dr. Ashish Jha, public health policy researcher and dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health. That is, find ways to prevent people from gathering unmasked in indoor spaces for extended periods of time.