Important story, particularly given the governor’s continued resistance to following White House task force recommendations on further limiting indoor dining and bars.

From the Los Angeles Times, information from South Korea, which has had remarkable success at restraining COVID-19 (564 deaths in a country with a population of 51 million, versus 2,752 in Arkansas, population 3 million):

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Dr. Lee Ju-hyung has largely avoided restaurants in recent months, but on the few occasions he’s dined out, he’s developed a strange, if sensible, habit: whipping out a small anemometer to check the airflow.

It’s a precaution he has been taking since a June experiment in which he and colleagues re-created the conditions at a restaurant in Jeonju, a city in southwestern South Korea, where diners contracted the coronavirus from an out-of-town visitor. Among them was a high school student who became infected after five minutes of exposure from more than 20 feet away.

 

The results of the study, for which Lee and other epidemiologists enlisted the help of an engineer who specializes in aerodynamics, were published last week in the Journal of Korean Medical Science. The conclusions raised concerns that the widely accepted standard of six feet of social distance may not be far enough to keep people safe.

 

The study — adding to a growing body of evidence on airborne transmission of the virus — highlighted how South Korea’s meticulous and often invasive contact tracing regime has enabled researchers to closely track how the virus moves through populations.

Too many Arkansans won’t abide by the six-foot rule, much less wear a mask. Or accept that COVID-19 is worse than the seasonal flu. The governor has said the right thing. Doing it?

It was particularly sad to learn that Trio’s owners, City Director Capi Peck and Brent Peterson, along with others had tested positive Dec. 5 and the restaurant closed for a time (to reopen Saturday, its Facebook page says). They went curbside pickup only for the longest time, with careful handling of orders by masked, gloved workers. When they reopened, they did so carefully and limited diners to 25 percent of capacity as the CDC recommended (and which the governor has resisted.) Peck has called repeatedly for stronger action. And now here she is, ill with a virus that leaves her feeling better some days than others.

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The rampant community spread puts even the most careful at risk. I assume the governor will say as much on TV tonight. But I don’t expect any Korean-style limits on activities.

 

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