Study Examines Limiting School Capacity for New York City Reopening

Modeling study compares potential New York City reopening policies, including to limit Phase Four reopenings and reinstate social distancing measures during an anticipated December spike

Newswise — Data modeling projections by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health scientists evaluate potential policies to reduce new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in coming months, including by limiting school capacity by 50 percent or capping capacity of certain industries to 25 percent during Phase Four, as well as by implementing an “adaptive PAUSE” system to re-implement social distancing rules during a rebound. The researchers have been working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on COVID-19 planning. Their new report is posted on Github.

Capping school capacity at 50 percent during Phase Four would cut the projected number of infections between 10 and 40 percent compared to a scenario in which schools fully reopen. A policy that keeps schools open at 100 percent capacity but caps other Phase Four industries (low-risk arts and entertainment businesses) at 25 percent capacity would cut the projected number of infections between 6 and 33 percent. Currently, New York State’s New York Forward plan has no capacity restrictions for schools.

 The researchers evaluated the benefits of an adaptive PAUSE that would re-implement social distancing measures after exceeding a set threshold of COVID-19 hospitalizations and loosened again when hospitalizations decline below a second threshold for two weeks (details on the thresholds are outlined in the reports). Under most transmission scenarios, re-PAUSE would be needed to avoid overwhelming healthcare systems. When enacted, adaptive re-PAUSE would reduce COVID burden (including infections, hospitalizations, and deaths) by 16 to 49 percent compared to no rollback. Even so, the researchers project many new infections and deaths in the coming months under most scenarios.

If the city caps all industries including schools at 50 percent capacity and implements adaptive PAUSE, assuming a 10 percent reduction in transmission (early data suggest a 5-10 percent reduction thanks to the City’s new Test & Trace program), the model projects that 7.3 percent of the population would be infected, with 23,600 hospitalizations and 9,700 deaths between now and May 31, 2021. The number of weeks needed to be on PAUSE would be three weeks in the winter during the holiday season starting the week of December 27.

“We showed that keeping all industries, including schools at 50 percent capacity, plus universal mask wearing, as well as further reduction in transmission from testing and contact tracing, and social distancing, the city might be able to keep transmission at relatively low levels through the end of May 2021 with minimal time on re-PAUSE,” noted lead researcher Wan Yang, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School.  

Earlier Reports

The researchers have been working on modeling analyses weighing policy decisions over the last two months. In a May 26 report, they tested different timing of reopening, along with multiple factors like seasonality that could contribute to the epidemic dynamics. A wintertime seasonality similar to other human coronaviruses would likely lead to epidemic surge starting the fall and peak in December and January.

In a June 3 report, they tested different rollback policies in case of large surges in hospitalizations following re-opening. They showed that when there is already widespread community transmission, slow rollback (e.g. only closing bars) likely would not be able to slow transmission and hospitalization surge sufficiently. Rather, immediate and strictest restrictions (e.g. PAUSE in New York) would likely be needed to prevent overwhelming healthcare systems. 

In the first two reports, the researchers tested phased reopening with full capacity (e.g. businesses opening at 100%) and showed that it would lead to large epidemics two to three months after reopening, as well as further surges in the winter. Based on these reports, they concluded that scaled-back liberalization of commercial social distancing along with adaptive re-PAUSE would likely both be needed to keep New York City open as long as possible.

About the Model and Its Uncertainties  

During the pandemic, the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have been collaborating in generating real-time computer model projections in support of the city’s pandemic response. Weekly projections are posted on Github. In the current analysis, the researchers projected outcomes using historical data on COVID cases and deaths and mobility in New York City with various assumptions on seasonality, immunity (~3 years), social distancing (mask wearing, etc.), and transmission reductions due to contact tracing and onsite preventive measures. The projections did not account for potential increased transmission in school settings and Phase Four industries.

 Study authors include Wan Yang, Sasikiran Kandula, and Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2927
Released: 14-Aug-2020 4:55 PM EDT
Managing your child’s diabetes during COVID-19
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

These days it’s hard not to worry about whether a quick outing to the grocery store will result in catching COVID-19. But for parents with children who have preexisting health conditions such as diabetes, it can be especially hard not to worry about whether their child is at a higher risk of becoming severely ill from the virus.

Newswise: 1200x800?cb=1597350935
Released: 14-Aug-2020 3:35 PM EDT
Gaiters do no harm: WVU toxicologists find coverings help contain the spread of exhaled droplets
West Virginia University

Experts with the West Virginia University Center for Inhalation Toxicology found that – assuming it’s a good fit - a gaiter will, despite recent reports, provide a respiratory containment of exhaled droplets comparable to a common over-the-ear cloth mask.

Newswise: AI software enables real-time 3D printing quality assessment
Released: 14-Aug-2020 3:05 PM EDT
AI software enables real-time 3D printing quality assessment
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have developed artificial intelligence software for powder bed 3D printers that assesses the quality of parts in real time, without the need for expensive characterization equipment.

Newswise: Is the COVID-19 virus pathogenic because it depletes specific host microRNAs?
Released: 14-Aug-2020 3:05 PM EDT
Is the COVID-19 virus pathogenic because it depletes specific host microRNAs?
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Why is the COVID-19 virus deadly, compared to cold-causing coronaviruses? Analysis current literature and bioinformatic study of seven coronaviruses, suggests that SARS-CoV-2 acts as a microRNA “sponge,” leading to better viral replication and blockage of the host immune response.

Released: 14-Aug-2020 2:30 PM EDT
UW team developing model to help lower COVID-19 infections in Seattle, other major cities
University of Washington

A UW team has received a grant to develop a model that uses local data to generate policy recommendations that could help lower COVID-19 infections in King County, which includes Seattle.

Newswise: Cardiovascular risk factors tied to COVID-19 complications and death
12-Aug-2020 7:05 PM EDT
Cardiovascular risk factors tied to COVID-19 complications and death
PLOS

COVID-19 patients with cardiovascular comorbidities or risk factors are more likely to develop cardiovascular complications while hospitalized, and more likely to die from COVID-19 infection, according to a new study published August 14, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jolanda Sabatino of Universita degli Studi Magna Graecia di Catanzaro, Italy, and colleagues.

Newswise: Study shows frequently used serology test may not detect antibodies that could confirm protection against reinfection of COVID-19
Released: 14-Aug-2020 1:55 PM EDT
Study shows frequently used serology test may not detect antibodies that could confirm protection against reinfection of COVID-19
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Two different types of detectable antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) tell very different stories and may indicate ways to enhance public health efforts against the disease, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (S-RBD) are speculated to neutralize virus infection, while the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N-protein) antibody may often only indicate exposure to the virus, not protections against reinfection.

Released: 14-Aug-2020 1:50 PM EDT
USC scientists identify the order of COVID-19's symptoms
University of Southern California (USC)

USC researchers have found the likely order in which COVID-19 symptoms first appear: fever, cough, muscle pain, and then nausea, and/or vomiting, and diarrhea.

Released: 14-Aug-2020 1:45 PM EDT
Stay the Course with Personal Finances during Pandemic, Johns Hopkins Expert Advises
Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School

Keeping on a careful and steady path is the wisest approach to personal money management during the uncertainties of the COVID-19 crisis, says Associate Professor Yuval Bar-Or of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 17-Aug-2020 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 14-Aug-2020 1:25 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 17-Aug-2020 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.


Showing results

110 of 2927

close
1.74692