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Extent of India’s COVID nudge campaign revealed

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The Government of India’s use of nudge theory in the first three months of the pandemic helped to tackle the virus on numerous fronts, a new study suggests.

India has reported nearly five million COVID-19 cases and well over 80,000 deaths (as of 16 September 2020), making the country one of the worst hit in the world. But an even greater tragedy may have unfolded had India’s not used nudge theory to maintain one of the world’s strictest and longest lockdowns in the first quarter of the year. This is the view of a new study by Ramit Debnath and Dr. Ronita Bardhan from Cambridge’s Behavior and Building Performance Group, Department of Architecture.

Using machine learning and AI-based algorithms to analyze almost 400 government press releases, they show how India nudged across 14 key policy areas to influence the behavior of 1.3 billion people, including , scientists, health professionals, manufacturers, food suppliers and students to help fight COVID-19. The researchers argue that nudges from India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, were particularly important in creating herd effect on lockdown and social distancing norms across the nation.

The study, published in PLoS ONE, found that the government deployed nudge techniques to tackle a wide range of urgent challenges between 15 January and 14 April 2020. Nudging is a design-based public policy approach which uses positive and negative reinforcements to modify the behavior of a population.

In January and February, policy nudges were focused on evaluating the risk of incoming travelers from China and extending surveillance at international airports. But the narrative soon shifted to address other pressing concerns. By March, nudges sought to impose new restrictions on travel, discouraging people from visiting crowded and public spaces, and strict social distancing. On 24 March, Modi

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Visiting Beaches and Pools | COVID-19

The places we visit to swim, play, and relax in water include beaches — swim areas in oceans, lakes, and other natural bodies of water — and pools, water playgrounds, and hot tubs. There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people through water in these places.

In or out of the water, stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with

The virus is thought to spread mostly person-to-person, by respiratory droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. The virus might also spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose, mouth, or possibly eyes. Infected people can spread the virus whether or not they have symptoms.

Fortunately, there are several actions you can take to reduce your risk of getting or spreading the virus when you go to public swim areas, such as beaches, pools, water playgrounds, and hot tubs.

Before you go

  • Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are waiting for COVID-19 test results, or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Check to see if the public swim area, pool, water playground, or hot tub has steps in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Bring supplies that help you and others stay healthy—for example, a mask (or two, for each person, in case one gets wet), hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, disinfectant wipes, tissues, and paper towels.

Use social distancing in and out of the water

  • Whether you’re in or out of the water, stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with.
  • Avoid crowded