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Ben Cowling
Professor, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong
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Ben Cowling Jul 10
Replying to @damon_pang
It’s a fair point but I think there is still well above 90% mask use, meaning even if we can get it back to 100% it’s probably not going to be enough. Social distancing measures are required
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Ben Cowling Jul 10
Replying to @I_Think_OutLoud
I did not say that masks and test+trace are ineffective. I agree with you that these measures are insufficient to stop spread. We need masks, test+trace, plus moderate social distancing measures to bring the epidemic under control
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Ben Cowling Jul 9
Replying to @bencowling88
(7/7) When the second epidemic is controlled, this really emphasises the importance of keeping infections out through effective testing and quarantine of persons arriving in Hong Kong. Once an epidemic begins, it will take a lot of effort to stop.
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Ben Cowling Jul 9
Replying to @bencowling88
(6/7) How did the second wave start? We may never know, but given the absence of local cases for most of the past 3 months, these latest outbreaks may have been started by relatively more recent importations.
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Ben Cowling Jul 9
Replying to @bencowling88
(5/7) Implementing work-from-home for civil servants and private businesses, closing bars and leisure facilities, and enhancing social distancing in restaurants was able to bring the first wave under control, and hopefully similar measures will be able to halt this second wave.
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Ben Cowling Jul 9
Replying to @bencowling88
(4/7) In our analysis of the first wave, we estimated that Rt rose above 2 in late March. This occurred even though we were doing a lot of testing and contact tracing, everyone was wearing face masks, schools were closed, and mass gatherings discouraged.
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Ben Cowling Jul 9
Replying to @bencowling88
(3/7) Clusters have been identified in an elderly home, a public housing estate, and linked with some restaurants. Test+trace has not prevented this. Mask-wearing in public is still universal, and has not prevented this.
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Ben Cowling Jul 9
Replying to @bencowling88
(2/7) Our estimate of the effective reproductive number "Rt" for local infections is close to 3, which is concerning It will take a lot of effort to bring down such a high reproductive number.
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Ben Cowling Jul 9
(1/7) Worrying indications that the second wave of COVID-19 has now begun in Hong Kong, with more than 50 local infections being identified in the past few days and a large number expected to be reported later today.
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Ben Cowling retweeted
Helen Branswell Jul 7
We're only half a year into this pandemic — closer to the beginning than the end, likely, unfortunately — and public health experts are exhausted. Terrific story from .
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Ben Cowling retweeted
Bill Hanage Jul 4
I'm quoted in this article from being blunt (again) about the clumsy way we communicate risks of airborne transmission, and the way has handled it 1/n
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Ben Cowling Jun 30
Replying to @KarenGrepin
We do now in Hong Kong, although we are not a country. See screenshot from 1h33 of ASHK forum earlier today
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Ben Cowling retweeted
Florian Krammer Jun 29
Our new preprint is out: "Seroconversion of a city: Longitudinal monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in New York City" with Harm van Bakel Mia Sordillo
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Ben Cowling Jun 29
Replying to @bencowling88
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Ben Cowling retweeted
Julia Marcus, PhD, MPH Jun 29
I've been writing about the need for empathetic public health messaging, which is more effective than trying to shame people into changing their behavior. Some have asked what exactly that looks like. Here are a few simple examples.
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Ben Cowling Jun 28
Replying to @bencowling88
In Hong Kong we have public enthusiasm and support for mass masking. I don't think mass masking would work in other places without public support, and making it mandatory would not solve that problem?
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Ben Cowling Jun 28
Replying to @bencowling88
Mass masking in public would certainly help, but in my opinion it would be going too far to _mandate_ that everyone must wear a mask in public all the time
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Ben Cowling Jun 28
Replying to @bencowling88
We can also think of situations where wearing a mask is going to help a lot. On crowded public transport. In classrooms. In open-plan offices. In communal areas of elderly homes?
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Ben Cowling Jun 28
Replying to @bencowling88
We can all think of situations where it would not be necessary to wear a mask in public. Sunbathing on a quiet beach. Hiking in the hills. Picnic in the park? A lot of gray areas too. What if the park is crowded, and some areas are sheltered from the elements?
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Ben Cowling Jun 28
Replying to @bencowling88
I don't think we would say that the failure of NBA players to wear masks would put themselves or other in danger? These are unique circumstances where intense testing is already being used to minimise risk.
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