As Arte Johnson would say: “Werry interesting!”
I do not know where all the readers of TPOL stand on the efficacy of the preventative measures promoted (or required) by various States, localities, military units, government agencies, private businesses (especially chains), and medical facilities. I think this study (notice: New England Journal of Medicine, which means it has been peer-reviewed by members of the medical establishment!) provides an important glimpse into this pandemic.
Hopefully, most of you do not need to be informed what Marine boot camp is (and will chuckle over Parris Island being called a “campus” as I did). It is not possible to imagine a boot who would ignore their D.I.’s orders on ANYTHING, even in 2020: handwashing and toilet wiping by the numbers, tape measures all over the place, and square meals… If you don’t know, find a Marine and ask – he’ll fill you in.
Anyway, read, share and enjoy… and learn.
Parris Island Study
Today, I’m excited to share the results of some very interesting research on COVID-19 that was published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. I reviewed the research over the weekend so that I could share the details.
I’m actually surprised that it was published at all.
The purpose of the study was to determine the efficacy of public health measures for COVID-19. This includes things like masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing.
Researchers used U.S. Marine recruits on Parris Island, South Carolina, to conduct the study. This was a great decision. After all, the authors could essentially ensure 100% compliance with the personal health measures in order to get the highest quality results from the study.
Every Marine recruit quarantined for two weeks prior to moving to Parris Island to ensure that they weren’t infectious. The study started with a clean slate.
1,848 recruits participated in the study and adhered to the study’s public health measures:
- All recruits wore double-layered cloth masks at all times indoors and outdoors.
- They stayed at a distance of at least six feet.
- No one was allowed to leave the campus.
- No one had access to personal electronic devices or anything else that might be a surface for spreading transmission.
- They practiced routine washing of hands.
- Recruits cleaned their rooms daily (of course).
- They sanitized their bathrooms with bleach wipes with each use.
- They ate pre-plated meals in a dining hall that was cleaned with bleach after each platoon ate.
I think we’ll agree that these are very strict measures taken in the hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19. The high compliance and repeated cleanings after each use make this study unique.
There were also 1,554 nonparticipants who did not take these measures. Over a 14-day period, all of the recruits were tested for COVID-19.
We would expect the infection rates to be higher in those who did not participate in the strict personal health measures.
But that’s not at all what happened.
By day 14, 51 of the 1,848 participants had tested positive for COVID-19. Only 26 out of the 1,554 nonparticipants tested positive.
In other words:
- Those who wore masks, used bleach, and stayed strictly distanced tested positive at a rate of 2.8% within the first two weeks.
- Those who didn’t and went about a normal life tested positive at a 1.7% rate over the same time period.
I believe the journal agreed to publish the study because the authors drew no conclusions. They didn’t explore why the personal health measures were unsuccessful in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and produced worse results.
They also didn’t explore why the infection rate was lower for those who didn’t participate.
This is one of the very best studies that I’ve seen to date on COVID-19. And these insights should be used in public policy making for how we go about our lives.
The physical condition of Marine recruits cannot be questioned – especially after weeks of boot camp. Obviously. I do not how many were non-symptomatic, or what tests were used. Or what the error rate on the test (false positives) might have been.
But with this kind of results, WHY are medical big-shots, “political” (like Faucet) or not, continuing to push for masks, social distancing, no outdoor (or indoor gatherings) and all the rest of the Lockdown mantra. As Debby points out, it is NOT about health, it is about CONTROL.