An interesting article highlighted by Professor Justin Stebbing in his science update this week highlighted the fact that over 150 students at an Israeli secondary school were infected by SARS-CoV-2 after students were allowed to remove their masks during a heat wave.
Ten days after Israeli schools fully reopened on 17 May, two students at a secondary school in Jerusalem were diagnosed with COVID-19. A group investigating the resulting outbreak found that 153 students and 25 members of staff had become infected. By mid-June, a further 87 cases had occurred amongst the close contacts of people infected through the school outbreak.
The group found that the virus’ spread was probably aided by a heat wave that occurred between 19 and 21 May which prompted the use of air-conditioning and a suspension of the requirement that students to wear face masks. They also concluded that crowding might have contributed as each of the school’s classrooms held 35 to 38 students.
Dr Paul Ettlinger
The London General Practice