Consistently wearing high-quality masks offers strong protection, a study in California suggests.

”…The study included more than 3,000 California residents who received P.C.R. test results between Feb. 18 and Dec. 1, 2021. Roughly half had tested positive for the virus….Researchers called each participant within 48 hours of their test result. They asked whether they had been in public indoor settings in the 14 days prior to testing and, if so, how often they had worn a mask in those environments. A subset of participants, who enrolled in the final months of the study, were also asked what kind of mask they wore.

Among those who reported always wearing a mask, the odds of testing positive for the virus were 56 percent lower than among those who said they never did. Among those who specified the type of mask they wore, the odds of testing positive for the virus were 83 percent lower for those wearing an N95 or KN95 respirator, and 66 percent lower for those wearing surgical masks, compared with those who did not wear masks.

“Masks, especially N95s or KN95s, continue to be an effective tool to reduce the spread of Covid-19, along with getting vaccinated and boosted,” Dr. Erica Pan, the state epidemiologist for the California Department of Public Health, said in an email.


1. Does Omicron Hit Kids Harder? Scientists are Trying to Find Out (Nature) As the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant has swept the globe in the past two months, millions of people have been hospitalized. Children have been no exception, and, in the United States, they have made up a larger proportion of COVID-19 hospitalizations than at any other time of the pandemic. Such paediatric hospitalizations might seem concerning, but estimates show that the individual risk of a child with Omicron being hospitalized is, in fact, lower — by one-third to one-half — than it was when the Delta variant was dominant. And hospitalized children are not presenting with any more severe illness than they were with other variants, says Michael Absoud, a specialist in women and children’s health at King’s College London. Preliminary UK data show that although there has been an increase in the proportion of children hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased during the Omicron wave — especially those under the age of one — the children have required fewer medical interventions, such as ventilators and supplemental oxygen.

2. How Denmark Decided COVID Isn’t a Critical Threat to Society (The Atlantic) On February 1, Denmark became the first country in the European Union to lift all pandemic restrictions. Indoor mask mandates? Gone. Vaccine passports at bars, restaurants, and stadiums? See ya. Mandatory isolation for infected individuals? Farvel. Reading this news, you might assume that Denmark succeeded in eliminating COVID. But its infection rate is currently higher than every other country’s in the world—except one: the South Pacific archipelago nation of Palau.

SARS-CoV-2 Variant Tracking and Mitigation During In-Person Learning at a Midwestern University in the 2020-2021 School Year

Conclusions and Relevance  This case series study elucidated the association of a robust vaccination program with a statistically significant decrease in positive COVID-19 cases among the study population even in the presence of highly transmissible variants and congregate living.


We Used to Care That Football Players Got Concussions

(J. Harris: “Forget, hell.”)

The growing use of exogenous melatonin in the general population and its expanding therapeutic potential4 provide impetus for the acquisition of robust evidence of long-term safety of melatonin supplementation.

(J. Harris: In these trying times, many people use Melatonin for a sleep aide — and some give it to their kids. Unfortunately, no one knows much about side effects, safe dosage, or even if it really works. It is not regulated or standardized.)




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