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The recent Wall St. Journal article, “How Exactly Do You Catch Covid-19?” compiled the latest medical and scientific findings. The principal medical fact is that surface contamination and fleeting interpersonal encounters are less of a worry than close-up, person-to-person interaction for extended periods of time. Crowded encounters indoors present the greatest danger of infection because 90% of the COVID-19 spread happens by viral droplets shed into the air by an infected person and then inhaled by someone else nearby.

A separate study by the National Academy of Sciences says, “the airborne transmission route is highly virulent and dominant for the spread of COVID-19”. The NAS finds that social distancing and other measures are insufficient by themselves to protect the public. These scientists assert that, “mandated face covering represents the determinant in shaping trends of the pandemic.” In other words, if face masks are not required and properly used in all close, indoor settings, no amount of hand washing and social distancing will stop viral spread.

With these irrefutable facts in mind I perused MSU’s lengthy fall 2020 Roadmap. I finished wondering why it is not mandatory for everyone on campus to wear face covering when indoors.

NAS says that face coverings are the most necessary deterrent, without which the virus is unstoppable, until someday when and if we are all immune. So please MSU leaders tell us, why is the one-and-only method that works to stem the tide of infection not your enforced norm?

August 17 students returning from all over our infected world will receive hand sanitizer “Clean Cat” kits, which according to America’s best scientists and health professionals are nearly meaningless as a deterrent. May I suggest that MSU follows the science and also gives students free “COVID Cat” face masks and demand that they be worn indoors by everyone?

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Jeff King

Bozeman