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A national, prevention, mitigation and recovery strategy for the COVID-19 pandemic is absent.

The repeated claim that there is adequate testing available is just not true. In the absence of any coordinated program with contact tracing, it is imperative for our own safety to strictly follow the CDC established protocol of social, recreational and business distancing. Known exposure should prompt self- quarantine.

Those who believe they have superior medical knowledge and resent being told what to do and refuse to follow critical CDC advice is not only foolish but can be regrettable. That attitude puts all of us at risk. We all need to acknowledge that even the asymptomatic person may be carrying the virus and may be able to pass it on. We are used to avoiding overt symptoms of illness like coughing to stay away from people.

This virus may be silently present and capable of transfer through droplets of saliva, spit, nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, talking and group singing. I just learned that group singing is the riskiest form of exposure from a TV viral epidemiologist! There are two classifications of droplets capable of spread. Droplets major and droplets minor.

The big droplets have a higher surface tension and tend to cling to the first objects they engage. Droplets minor are less than 10 microns in diameter and have less surface tension and tend to be breathed into the respiratory tract more easily. Take heed. Follow the CDC established advice and stay safe with wearing a mask if out of the house or if you anticipate being any place where there are crowds or groups of people. The shorter the time of exposure is important, so being unprotected without mask for over a few minutes is a risk. Stay safe.

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Richard A. Damon, MD

Bozeman