Home / Technology / Wrestling with reopening: 30-min interview explores COVID-19 and shared spaces

Wrestling with reopening: 30-min interview explores COVID-19 and shared spaces

Two health PhDs enter; one more informed public leaves, this Thursday at 1:30pm ET.
Enlarge / Two health PhDs enter; one more informed public leaves, this Thursday at 1:30pm ET.

Aurich Lawson

As the entire world continues to grapple with the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, it’s only natural to have a ton of questions. Ars has done its best to keep readers on top of the most important news while also providing key perspective on those big-picture questions. Where does the spread stand this week? I should be wearing a mask, right? How does science get a vaccine together (and are researchers close)?

So far, however, we haven’t totally attempted to grapple with one of the pandemic’s biggest outstanding and timely inquiries: what should reopening look like? Beyond essential businesses and healthcare facilities, this month we’ve slowly started witnessing things like drive-ins returning or racing leagues announce restarts. With entire states from Texas to Florida recently easing various guidelines and restrictions on businesses and public movement, thinking about reopening (whether now is the right time, the kind of safety mechanisms necessary, etc.) feels more pertinent than ever.

This Thursday at 1:30pm ET (17:30 UTC/10:30am PT), we’ll be pondering precisely that when talking to an expert on the subject: Harvard Assistant Professor of Exposure Assessment Science Dr. Joseph Allen. This spring, Dr. Allen has been sought out by everyone from The New York Times to ESPN for his particular expertise in building science, or how indoor build environments from homes and schools to labs and stadiums impact our overall health. (The extreme TL;DR for these times: proper ventilation, filtration, and humidity can help reduce the spread of pathogens.) Dr. Allen has an upcoming book on the subject, Healthy Buildings available on April 21, and obviously COVID-19 has made his focus on the intersection of building science and health science all the more vital.

In (a socially distant, video-chatted) conversation with Ars’ intrepid health reporter Dr. Beth Mole, Dr. Allen will field questions from Ars and readers to help us understand and imagine what reopening might (and should) look like for communities and workplaces. The discussion will happen through the livestreaming app Periscope and will be hosted on the Ars Technica Twitter account (@arstechnica—you can certainly @ us with questions), but we’ll also embed the video below once things get underway for those who prefer to sit tight onsite. In the meantime, check out some of Dr. Allen’s insights linked above and start sharing the most urgent questions on your mind below.

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