October 16, 2020
In Today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss considering “density, distance, and duration" to reduce COVID-19 superspread. Read more.
A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense with United Airlines has found that the risk of COVID-19 exposure on planes is 'virtually nonexistent' when masked.
On Monday, we discussed the complexities of determining indoor “safe spaces” as businesses seek to begin holding in-person meetings. Read more here.
On Wednesday, we expanded our U.S. Risk Matrix discussion to better account for case rates, test positive rates, and more for states around the U.S.
A recent commentary shows that the COVID-19 pandemic may cost the U.S. up to $16 trillion.
The FDA has provided Recommendations for Health Care Providers with clear instructions to patients who self-collect nasal SARS-CoV-2 testing in health care settings.
A new study finds that there is a low risk to infants of moms with COVID-19, including that “separation of affected mothers and newborns may not be warranted, and direct breastfeeding appears to be safe.”
A recent CDC/NIOSH-funded study on the efficacy of face masks, neck gaiters and face shields, found that “face masks and neck gaiters are preferable to face shields as source control devices for cough aerosols.” Material and number of layers also play an important role. Read the article here.
A recent Packer article summarizes FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas’ exploration of Lessons learned from COVID-19. Yiannas, who spoke at a UFPA United Fresh Conference said, “We passed the test” in that “federal rules were adjusted to allow food normally sent to foodservice establishments to be sold at retail grocery stores.” Read the full article.
The final report for “Remdesivir for the Treatment of COVID-19” found that “remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults who were hospitalized with Covid-19 and had evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.”
Recommendations for Industry
To Reduce COVID-19 Superspread: Consider Density, Distance, Duration
Through the many months of the COVID-19 pandemic, our knowledge of the virus and its transmission has significantly evolved. One such area is the understanding of what contributes to superspreading events, as discussed in the recent study, Estimating the overdispersion in COVID-19 transmission using outbreak sizes outside China.
While the continuing transmission of the virus suggests that it has a high reproductive rate, there can be significant variation in the number of secondary transmissions (i.e., “superspreading” events). However, what is being seen is that even if the incidence of illness in a community is low, the “right” conditions can lead to “superspreading,” and contribute to large outbreaks. For example, if a community begins to reduce its protections – such as reopening businesses and schools to full capacity without masks and six-foot distancing, etc. – employees in that area become more likely to become infected – and carry the virus into your workplace.
To continue to protect your workers and your business, TAG’s advice is to maintain controls that avoid high density, short distance, and long duration exposures in indoor spaces (density, distance, and duration) – and advise employees to do so when not at work. These are the ingredients that can lead to superspreading events where one asymptomatic employee can transmit to many others.
In most food manufacturing facilities, the highest risk areas now are likely to be lunchrooms and breakrooms since these are places where people congregate, take off their masks, and talk to each other for extended periods of time.
Care and caution are particularly critical now as the risk profiles have, again, been increasing both in the U.S. and around the world (as shown in TAG’s most recent risk matrix analysis). Keep your defenses in place; we’re still in the fight!
As of October 16, 2020 (9:36 ET), there are over > 38,998,580 cases (>1,099,409 deaths) worldwide.
Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focus on the United States, please see here for the data. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.
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