Friday, February 26, 2021
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Introducing an unlikely stress reliever

Covid-19   Infection Prevention   Hospitals & Health Systems   Stress Reduction

Today’s Read: 3.5 minutes

Pandemic-themed video games might be our new jam, especially when they allow us to virtually yell at people not wearing a mask. Luckily, new and somewhat impressive findings showing that masking can prevent coronavirus transmission in airplanes, giving us more facts for our IRL conversations about the issue. Plus, Halloween is 10 days away so we have candy on the brain.

Want to connect with other nurses about the serious and not-so-serious aspects of nursing life? Then check out Huddle. It’s the virtual nurses’ station made up of professionals like you.


Masking prevents transmission on airplanes

We know that mask-wearing can stop the spread of Covid-19, but a study that looked at mask-wearing on airplanes is impressive and could help you or your patients decide whether to travel or not.

The research, published in the Journal of Travel Medicine, looks at travellers to Hong Kong, where health officials have been meticulously testing and tracking all passengers who land in the city. “They test everybody by PCR on arrival, quarantine them in single rooms for 14 days, and then test the passengers again,” infectious disease doctor David O. Freedman at the University of Alabama at Birmingham told NPR. As a result, health officials know which passengers boarded the plane while already infected with the virus and whether they could have infected anyone else on the plane.

Freedman and his colleague analyzed this data by focusing on one airline with a rigid masking policy implemented since April: Emirates. Looking at all flights from Dubai to Hong Kong between June 16 and July 5, five flights had seven or more infected passengers on each flight (58 cases in total). Despite sharing a cabin for eight hours, none of the other 1,500 to 2,000 passengers picked up the virus.

“There’s encouraging evidence from a number of flights that masking does help greatly, but it would be nice to study it better,” Freedman said. “The circumstantial evidence is, your risk is low on a plane, if there is rigid masking.”

9 hospitals and health systems that are financially sound

Hundreds of hospitals are in danger of closing this year. Thus, making recent reporting by Becker’s Healthcare particularly noteworthy. The site names nine hospitals and health systems with strong operational metrics and solid financial positions, according to reports from Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, and S&P Global Ratings. Here are the nine, in alphabetical order:

  • St. Louis-based Ascension 
  • Phoenix-based Banner Health 
  • Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health 
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 
  • Milwaukee-based Children’s Wisconsin 
  • Philadelphia-based Main Line Health 
  • Midland-based MidMichigan Health 
  • Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children’s Hospital 
  • Chicago-based Northwestern Memorial HealthCare 

How do you react to news like this?  Does it make these hospitals and health systems more attractive as a potential employer?  Do you feel operational metrics portray an accurate story of patient care?

Video games might be the panacea to 2020 we need

The last thing that you may want to do is to play a video game based on Covid-19, let alone 51 of them, but hear us out.

The games are part of a collection of mostly short vignettes that came out of the competition called Jamming the Curve. Participants were challenged to build a game from scratch (known in game development circles as a game jam) that somehow reflected our pandemic. Developers had access to epidemiological models from Georgia Tech and had input from the National Academy of Sciences’ cultural-education-focused LabX department.

“The best of the 51 games felt as if they opened a dialogue,” Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times writes, “allowing me to communicate digitally about topics I wasn’t always vocal about, or even desired to be vocal about, in my daily life. Play in this instance became a much-needed exhale, whether I was entering the headspace of someone stubbornly wearing a mask below their nose, trying to stop the spread of disease on an alien planet, witnessing the life of a nurse, or seeing how attempts to control an outbreak among a species is akin to herding cats.”

For Florida-based epidemiologist Sarah Matthews, she found the games therapeutic, especially those that simulate the public not following health guidelines.

Most of the games can be played free via a browser. To play or download any of the 51 games, go to the Jamming the Curve submissions page.



The number of excess deaths in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, with a disproportionate impact on Hispanic or Latinx, ages 25-44. At least 2 out of 3 deaths are directly due to Covid-19; others possibly due to causes such as forgoing other medical care, according to the CDC.


With Halloween 10 days away, it’s time to think about candy. Watch Five Thirty-Eight’s Halloween Candy Power Ranking to decide which candy to stash at your nurses’ station.

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