I think I’ve seen several people who wondered if we could all just wear masks and go about our business. If the goal is to keep the rate of infection from growing (ie keep R0 below 1), this indicates that masks alone may not be enough. (The fact that the school closure was associated with a drop in cases does indicate that there was transmission via schools. I do wonder how much of the spread was during unmasked sports. If it was significant, then this example is less telling.)
A few key parts:
The state had mandated that students and staff members wear masks in school, allowing unmasked sports practice and competition… the district seems to have made few adjustments to accommodate social distancing in classrooms.
Corner Canyon High School experienced one of the biggest coronavirus outbreaks at a school in Utah, and possibly the country, with 90 cases within two weeks — most likely an undercount, since not all students and staff who were exposed or symptomatic got tested.
Mr. Walker said he had heard from some Corner Canyon parents that there was an agreement among mothers at the school… not to get their children tested for the virus even if they became ill, to avoid adding to the school’s case count and contributing to it being shut down.
…once Corner Canyon shut its doors, cases among students and staff fell sharply. After a month of being closed, the school is set to reopen on Monday. As of last Wednesday, according to the district’s dashboard, it had between one and five cases.
This school kind of exemplifies what I fear happening on a large scale - I worry that people won’t take the necessary precautions, either because they don’t believe they’re necessary or they’re just tired of it all, and we’ll end up in a bad situation and need to shut large parts of the country down again to get the virus more under control. Well, either that or have a huge number of people infected with the associated consequences (possible long-term harm, death, etc.) I do NOT want another shut down if we can avoid it.