August 21, 2020 Public Health Update from Waking Giants

Living through a pandemic requires constant risk assessment and tradeoffs. Risk is not binary, it is more like reading the weather. We have to consider the different factors and elements at play in our houses and in our community at large. This week some schools are returning, UT students are coming back together, and the heat is driving us inside. All of these will factor into how the virus trends in Austin. We are in the rhythm now, where we are able to see it takes about three weeks to see the effects of community behavior change on the numbers of community spread. 
Data continues to affirm that mask wearing is critical to our ability to more safely be together. The sooner we are able to normalize that behavior change, the better. Kids in Asia have been doing this for years and we are in the midst of a culture shift for the same here. 
Yesterday Sera Bonds spoke about risk allocation. She imagined saving up risk, then spending it intentionally on those activities most valued by the family at any given time. For example, deploying some risk to spend time with grandparents, but in order to do so, cutting off physical exposure to friends. We are in this for a long haul and have to craft a way to live with this virus until there is a vaccine. 

Some tactical advice on risk management:

Evaluate the risk of the activity, which includes its duration and setting. The highest risk for transmission is with close contact, prolonged interaction, and enclosed environments. In contrast, keeping a distance of at least six feet, brief interactions, and outdoor settings will keep risk lower. Sitting indoors a few feet away from a friend and having a long talk is a higher-risk situation than going for a stroll or chatting briefly with that person outdoors.

When trying to determine what the level of risk is in any situation as you try to make a decision about whether or not to do it, consider using this easy to use COVID calculator.

Link to Sera Bonds + Athena Montessori Community Session: