November 19, 2020

Coronavirus Science and Legal Facts

Coronavirus Science and Legal Facts

Date of last update: 11/19/20

I've decided to start collecting facts about the coronavirus that answer questions I see on social media, in the hopes that other people can cut and paste these facts when addressing similar questions.  I will update this post as I add more facts, and will update the date from today, November 14, 2020, to make sure this post is prominent.  If you would like to suggest a fact for this list, please send it to me with a citation to a peer-reviewed source and I will add it as I can.  I'm going to type these facts up without formatting so that they can be cut-and-pasted into comments.


Demographic Data

Where to find US demographic data: US Outbreak Map coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map

Where to find CO demographic data: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment covid19.colorado.gov/data


Per Capita Infection and Testing Rates for Huerfano and Las Animas Counties


The Benefits of Masks for the Coronavirus

Coronavirus droplets vary in size because they are suspended in saliva and mucus.  However, they have been reported in sizes as small as 5 micrometers.  

Oxygen molecules (o2 molecules, not the overall composition of air, which contains oxygen, nitrogen, and argon) are 0.299 nanometers, much, much smaller than Coronavirus molecules.

A dust molecule (what N95 masks are designed to filter) can be as small as 1 micrometer.   Air molecules are much smaller than dust or the Coronavirus.

N95 masks stop particles as small as 0.3 micrometers (PDF; also see this from Massnurses.org).

Nature magazine provides a synopsis of multiple mask studies here.

Note, often you will see micrometers referred to as microns.

Goldman Sachs links mask wearing to GDP, with higher GDP nations tending to comply with mask orders more often.


Limitation of Liability for Coronavirus

It’s hard to prove the non-existence of a thing, but the president has not limited liabilitiy for the coronavirus.  Trump’s executive orders are published as part of the Federal Register here: federalregister.gov/presidential-documents/executive-orders/donald-trump/2020 .  There are no executive orders since the start of the pandemic related to limiting liability of property owners due to the Coronavirus.  However, since tort lawsuits are not usually federal questions, he wouldn’t have the authority to anyway.  


Premises Liability for Coronavirus (i.e., Can a Restaurant be Sued for Contracting the Coronavirus in CO)

A restaurant may be sued for liability related to an injury that occurred on the premises under Colorado’s premises liability law, CRS 13-21-115. The premises liability statute replaces the common-law doctrine of negligence per se. Lombard v. Colo. Outdoor Educ. Ctr., Inc., 187 P.3d 565 (Colo. 2008) (plaintiff may recover against landowner only under the statute and not on a negligence per se claim, but evidence of building code violation admissible as evidence of landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care).