Seniors Form COVID Pods to Ward Off Isolation This Winter

Over the past month, Dr. Richard Besdine and his wife have been discussing whether to see family and friends indoors this fall and winter.

He thinks they should, so long as people have been taking strict precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.

She’s not convinced it’s safe, given the heightened risk of viral transmission in indoor spaces.

Both are well positioned to weigh in on the question. Besdine, 80, was the longtime director of the division of geriatrics and palliative medicine at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School. His wife, Terrie Wetle, 73, also an aging specialist, was the founding dean of Brown’s School of Public Health.

“We differ, but I respect her hesitancy, so we don’t argue,” Besdine said.

Older adults in all kinds of circumstances — those living alone and those who are partnered, those in good health and those who are not — are similarly deliberating what to do

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‘Masks are helping’ | Health Beat

Properly wearing a mask around others can reduce the odds of contracting or spreading COVID-19. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

It’s been a long, thorny path from January to November.

“There’s certainly been a lot of things we’ve needed to learn about COVID in the past months,” said Gordana Simeunovic, MD, an infectious disease specialist with Spectrum Health. “So much to learn.”

One of the most important things researchers have learned about this virus? That we need to keep our distance from other people, even if they look healthy.

“It most frequently spreads person to person,” Dr. Simeunovic said.

Sneezing, coughing, talking, singing and breathing produce respiratory droplets that transmit the virus.

Research tells us that coming within 6 feet of a person who has the virus puts you at the highest risk of infection because the droplets are most concentrated within that range. But keep in

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