by David Brill MD
The Covid virus, SARS-COV-2 (SARS-Coronavirus-2) is the second SARS virus to hit humans in this century.
Thanks to the first SARS virus, labs already know a good amount about this family’s behavior, and some pharmaceutical companies were ready with much of a vaccine in place for Son of SARS.
There are 350 vaccines in development around the world that we know of.
Lab technologies, plus Artificial Intelligence, have improved and are frankly amazing.
Many experts are cautiously optimistic.
That said, human immune and related systems are enormously complex, with myriad potential interactions.
So there is no sensible alternative to testing thousands of people before releasing new vaccines and medicines.
Russia violated this utterly sensible rule for the political gain of a tyrant.
If Vladimir Putin thinks it’s so good, why didn’t he get it and become around the 71st person to get it, instead of his daughter?
Several vaccines are now testing thousands of people. Let’s see how they do.
Masks and Social Distancing
We knew from SARS-1 that the virus family is airborne, and masks are by far the most effective tool to prevent spread and super-spreader events.
Nevertheless, because we didn’t have enough masks worldwide, public health agencies and politicians spread the “droplet” fiction of primary spread, without good evidence. We now publicly recognize that airborne spread is the virus’ primary means of infectious travel. That means simply breathing in a room can spread the virus to all corners in minutes.
In hindsight, we didn’t need to close global economies as much as we did, and we shouldn’t do it next time. Promoting masks from the beginning would likely have prevented deaths and overload of medical systems.
When feasible again, we should stockpile masks around the world for the next airborne virus mutation.
We’ve recently tested different kinds of masks.
Multiple-ply masks (N95, KN95, surgical) protect both self and others far better than single-ply masks (bandanas, neck gaiters, etc.).
We can carefully open restaurants, schools, churches, courts, etc., provided that effective masks are worn.
We can now buy KN95 and surgical masks in many stores and online! KN95s are the next-best thing to N95s.
N95s are still reserved for frontline workers until we get more supply.
Schools, courts, choirs and gyms are challenging because they usually require that participants stay in the room for a long time, often beathing heavily.
When you’re breathing heavily, even with a fitted mask, you exhale out the sides.
Breathing heavily without masks can cause “super-spreader” events, where one person infects many, as in a Pacific Northwest choir where one person infected over 50 others.
We’ve gotta figure out systems to deal with long times in rooms, especially with deep breathing. That’s hard to do with masks alone.
Nursing homes and hospitals must still be ridiculously careful and strict.
Video visiting is best there.
With masks we need less social distancing.
SD is still truly prudent, especially for those with risks.
Safe Social Distancing and Gatherings
We can safely do outdoor (and some indoor) weddings, potlucks, etc. – maybe not dances for now.
With potlucks, wear masks except when eating, use hand gel immediately before and after serving yourself food, and social distance outdoors when you’re eating.
Fear and Socializing
One thing we’ve learned because of this virus is that it’s great for humans to safely socialize, trade ideas, emotions and experiences with each other, and continue to grow and prosper together.
High-risk people especially have reason to be extra-cauthous about socializing.
During this political season we can safely canvass door-to-door using effective masks and gel.
Many residents remainl fearful and would not welcome it yet, however.
Whenever we learn more about this virus, we gain strength and power to deal with it!