Prayer #397: For the New MIT Study on Indoor Social Distancing
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has just completed a comprehensive study regarding the six-foot social distancing indoor guideline that has been in use throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigation, conducted by two MIT professors, Martin Bazant and John Bush, has been peer-reviewed and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. The new study focused on various factors important in viral transmission indoors, including time spent indoors, air filtration and circulation, immunization, and variant strains of COVID-19. Bazant and Bush state that six-foot social distancing is not a fully adequate protective guide for a contagious virus such as COVID. "We argue that, in the context of airborne transmission in a well-mixed space, the benefits of the six-foot rule are limited," Bazant said. "As everyone in the room is breathing the same air, they share the same risk. Social distancing may thus be giving you a false sense of security. However, we note that the six-foot rule is valuable in limiting transmission by respiratory jets, which pose a heightened risk when people are not wearing masks." According to the above factors of air circulation, time spent indoors, etc., Bazant and Bush believe that indoor reopening should depend on the indoor spaces and venues. "Our analysis shows that many spaces may be safe to re-open at full capacity," the two MIT professors state, "while others carry significant risk, depending on the number of time people stand together, the ventilation rate, whether face masks are worn, and other factors." More and more, of course, increased vaccination from the virus should lead to the safe reopening of indoor public spaces.
Be in prayer for the governors of our states and for state/local health authorities as they are making decisions, now and into the summer, concerning the timing for removing COVID-19 restrictions as the virus continues to diminish. Pray for God's wisdom and discernment for them.
Ps. 59:16-17: "But I will sing of Thy might; I will sing aloud of Thy steadfast love in the morning. For Thou hast been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praise to Thee, for Thou, O God, art my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love."