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Voting in a Covid Pandemic: Wear a Mask and Bring Your Own Pens – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/23/health/Covid-voting-safety.html

Noting that “a substantial percentage” of the poll employees saw inaccurate mask use by citizens, the report said, “even more messaging on proper mask use, including at ballot places, may be required to strengthen the efficiency of masks during upcoming elections.”
The C.D.C. suggested that providing masks for citizens “might support adoption of individual avoidance practices.”
Survey workers were likewise most likely than citizens to utilize hand sanitizer.
Nineteen of the 522 employees in the survey had contact with a voter who was ill, with or without a recognized Covid medical diagnosis, the report said. Fifteen of the 19 said they wore masks during that contact, however none wore the other protective gear recommended by the C.D.C. for such encounters: face shield, gown, gloves. The survey recommended that the workers had “limited training” in use of the gear.
Survey employees in general face several dangers: Many are older, with health issue that make them particularly susceptible to extreme health problem if they contract Covid. And they come into close contact with numerous individuals on election days, typically closer than the 6-foot “social distance” suggested to reduce transmission of the virus.
Continuing efforts to recruit younger poll workers may lower the percentage of employees at threat for extreme cases of Covid, the report stated.
In the meantime, the C.D.C. provided up a list of ways to assist minimize the risk for voters: go at off-peak times, like midmorning; monitor the citizen line from your cars and truck and join when the line is brief; submit any needed registration kinds ahead of time and evaluate a sample ballot at house to reduce time invested at the polling location; and take your own black ink pen, or stylus to use on touch-screen voting makers.

Early voting has currently created long, long lines in many states, and with the November election simply 11 days away, lots of states and cities have imposed security steps to safeguard voters and poll workers from exposure to the coronavirus.
Ballot locations still have the prospective to end up being “mass gathering events,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in an advisory released on Friday, adding that procedures to avoid the spread of Covid-19 might be improved.
The C.D.C. based its newest guidance on a survey from the experiences of 522 poll workers in Delawares statewide primary in September.
Guidelines released by the firm in June advised various ways to minimize crowds at ballot locations, including absentee ballot and extended ballot hours.

The Delaware study discovered that a lot of voters and workers used masks, but did not always utilize them correctly to cover both the mouth and nose. Voters were less mindful than survey employees. Only 54 percent of the employees surveyed said that they rarely or never ever saw sloppy mask use by citizens.

To reduce illness transmission, the C.D.C. likewise suggested putting up physical barriers in between voting machines; spacing the makers apart from one another; showing 6-foot distances with indications or floor markings for those waiting in line to vote; designating different entryways and exits; the usage of protective gear– masks, face guards, dress and gloves– for survey workers helping sick citizens; and permitting curbside voting for individuals who are ill.
” Ensuring that ill voters can vote while maintaining poll employee and citizen safety will be important to reducing transmission without restricting voting rights,” the report said.
However in Alabama, where curbside ballot had been allowed, the states attorney general purchased that it be stopped, and on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court supported the ban.
The new study of Delaware poll workers did not supply information about whether any cases of Covid were linked to the ballot centers. The questions included only the workers observations about the conditions and practices at 99 of the states polling locations.
The Delaware study discovered that a lot of employees and citizens wore masks, however did not constantly utilize them properly to cover both the mouth and nose. Voters were less careful than poll workers. About 73 percent of the participants stated they extremely seldom or never saw other survey employees using masks the incorrect method. Only 54 percent of the workers surveyed stated that they seldom or never saw careless mask usage by citizens.

Nineteen of the 522 workers in the survey had contact with a voter who was ill, with or without a recognized Covid diagnosis, the report stated.