Focusing mainly on therapeutics and vaccines, without attempting prevention of transmission at a population level, is flawed public health.


First published: April 2022.


Suggesting “one-way masking” for just clinically vulnerable (CV) and high-risk groups belies a lack of understanding of public health. It is airborne. We need high-grade masks, testing for everyone, ventilation (bizarrely not mentioned at all), and support for isolation for all.

Herd immunity now seems impossible. Welcome to the age of Covid reinfection. | The Guardian, 12-Apr-2022.

“Focused protection” doesn’t work for an airborne infection. We need to make our environment safer. It is like saying, “let’s allow smoking in public, and those with respiratory disease can wear a mask to protect themselves.” SARS-CoV-2 is an airborne hazard – we need to treat it as such.

We know mask effectiveness depends massively on population uptake. And we know ventilation makes a huge difference. These measures are physical, they work irrespective of variant – because they work on the mode of spread of the virus.

Focusing mainly on therapeutics and vaccines, without attempting prevention of transmission at a population level, is flawed public health.

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Also, given the mention of long COVID, what are the plans for preventing this, given vaccines don’t provide anywhere near-complete protection? Even those not clinically vulnerable get long COVID. We need to reduce transmission rather than indulge in “focused protection” narratives.

Ultimately, letting COVID-19 spread will affect the most disadvantaged groups the most, given the risk is the highest in poorer populations, those with disabilities, and frontline staff. And increases the highest in children who have been left almost completely unprotected.

PMP Magazine





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— AUTHOR —

Dr Deepti Gurdasani, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology, Statistical Genetics, Machine Learning, Queen Mary University of London.
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