By Patrick Meagher
NORTH GOWER — Fruit and vegetable grower Mel Foster is annoyed by quarantine restrictions on farms during the pandemic.
As it stands, when foreign workers from Jamaica arrive at his farm, he has to house them, get their groceries and pay them for the two weeks that they self-isolate.
He does get compensation for paying the workers to hang out but he doesn’t understand why there needs to be a quarantine at all. It delays planting, doesn’t stop the spread of the virus, and the workers themselves don’t want to be cooped up in small bunk houses, although they can walk outside.
Test the workers for COVID-19, tell them not to leave the farm for 14 days and let them go to work, Foster says. “We are out in the middle of the country and there is a lot space here. The people making laws have no connection to the farm.” Foster is right and the research backs him up.
In the April issue of the Journal of American Medical Association, MIT associate professor Lydia Bourouiba argued that enclosed spaces are the worst places to be during a pandemic. “When one is outside, with air circulation or wind, the (virus) is easily dispersed and less concentrated,” she wrote.
Isn’t that just common sense?
There’s more. To determine how the virus spreads, a recent study of 320 towns in China found that the most common place where patients were infected was in their own homes. The study, “From indoor transmission to SARS-COV-2,” found that 80 per cent of cases began in the home. The study concluded that “All identified outbreaks of three or more cases occurred in an indoor environment, which confirms that sharing indoor space is a major (coronavirus) infection risk.”
Where was one of the worst places to be outside of the home? Inside public transportation.
We also know from years of research that fresh air and exercise boosts the immune system and a weakened immune system is what you don’t want if you contract COVID-19.
In the Atlantic Monthly magazine last month, Zeynep Tufecki reports this nugget: “The outdoors and sunshine are such strong factors in fighting viral infections, that a 2009 study of the extraordinary success of outdoor hospitals during the 1918 influenza epidemic suggested that during the next pandemic, we should encourage ‘the public to spend as much time outdoors as possible.’”
This is the next pandemic and very few people are encouraged to go outside. Politicians could use a little dose of common sense from Mel Foster.
COMMON SENSE: Restrictions on going outside for migrant workers defy the facts
By Patrick Meagher