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This concise book explains in understandable terms how scientists, as they struggle to comprehend Covid-19, have been identifying the main ways the coronavirus is spread and the primary factors associated with severe illness and death. This emerging evidence can help us determine the best ways to reduce risk as well as anxiety and fear. By examining 12 common myths and 12 lesser known facts about Covid-19 (last updated on July 18, 2021, and also available in a Spanish version), the author explores:
● How this respiratory
coronavirus is mainly spread through close and prolonged contact, and why fleeting encounters are extremely unlikely to cause infection
● How most infections occur within clusters
of people in indoor settings with poor air circulation: households, workplaces, nursing homes, prisons...And what can be done about it
● Why Covid-19 vaccines are such a game-changer
● The extremely low risk of infection while being outdoors and from surfaces
● Why a child is more likely to die from walking to school than from Covid-19, and the surprisingly low risk of children infecting others
● Why "facial distancing" is more helpful than "social distancing"
● The value and limitations of other prevention measures including masks, gloves, thermometer guns, hand sanitizers, 14-day quarantine periods, vaccines, and "herd immunity" approaches
● Why having asthma does not increase risk of severe illness or death from Covid-19 (and probably even lowers risk)
● Is it safe to work out again at the gym?
● What about "airborne" transmission: do we need to do anything differently?
● The not necessarily very high risk to the elderly, absent serious health conditions
● Is it safe to travel by airplane?
● The need to focus on levels of Covid-19 deaths
(and severe illness) vs cases
, even when surges inevitably occur
● The confusion regarding "asymptomatic" and "pre-symptomatic" infected persons
● The impact of shelter-in-place measures, school closings and other responses to the coronavirus, and
● What can be learned from previous pandemics:
Daniel Halperin, Ph.D. is Adjunct Full Professor at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill. He has conducted epidemiological and anthropological research for over forty years in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and other regions, and previously taught at Harvard School of Public Health, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. He served over five years as Senior HIV Prevention Advisor at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Dr. Halperin co-authored a New York Times
"Editor's Choice" book on the AIDS pandemic and has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles on infectious diseases in leading scientific journals, as well as a numerous opinion pieces in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal