JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Cheap ways to starve a virus: Masks reduce spread by 70%, Distance by 80%

One good thing about Coronavirus is that people are suddenly paying attention to all the cheap easy ways to slow viruses. Hopefully we will get a bit better at preventing other respiratory infections too. 

As I’ve mentioned before, masks stop as much as 75% of influenza, and now we know the number is similar with Coronavirus. If any drug was this effective, it would be hailed as a Gamechanging Breakthrough (!).

Indeed, just yesterday Anthony Fauci said he’d settle for 70%, 75% effective vaccine, but masks are here already. And we don’t have to wear them forever, just til we starve the virus, set up border checks, and get the cases to zero. Then we wait for a long term solution. 2020 is going to be the year of the mask.

With Coronavirus cases ramping up again all over the world, people like Mike Pence, and Australia’s Health Minister are talking about them. If we add Vitamin D at 5c a dose (which can reduce the spread of influenza by 40%) perhaps some states could avoid a repeat mass lockdown?

Given the cost in deaths and dollars of the spread of this virus, it would be cheaper to give [...]

Make Your Own Mask: DIY No-sew 2 minute and high quality sewn HEPA options

Ignore the mixed, junk messaging, if the WHO tells you not to wear a mask, that’s President Xi speaking. It’s a reason to wear one. We should all be wearing masks in public. It may be the cheapest way to reduce the R0, and get us out of coronavirus-jail fast.

Countries which wear masks have lower transmission. Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea. UPDATE: Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer says Australians shouldn’t use masks because they are not clever enough to use them properly or something like that. Seriously.  Don’t wait for bureaucrats to get the message right. It protects other people from those who don’t even have symptoms who are shedding virus. It protects you: It reduces your chance of breathing in droplets of virus that float in the air. Viruses are tiny, but studies show that masks work, even a thin surgical mask prevented nearly 3 out 4 parents from catching influenza from their infected children. The N95 style are better but any mask is better than nothing. There are no guarantees — the virus can sneak in the side, and still enter through your eyes (wear glasses to reduce at least to stop you touching your eyes). [...]

Wear masks, flush the air, microdroplets suspend for hours

Closed rooms with many people talking are hot-beds of infection. Invisible clouds of virus hang suspended in the air. Open the windows. Turn up the airflow. Wear masks. (Wear goggles too, if you are high risk, the virus can get in through the wet surface of your eyes).

Blow that virus outdoors where the sun will fry it. We need to change the way we handle air in planes and on cruise ships, and public transport — even when there is no pandemic.

This is why I am not shopping without PPE. Make a mask.  Mail order and delivery is so much safer. Do carpark pick ups.  It’s also why eating uncooked fruit and vege that people may have breathed on is still a risk. The virus will likely survive 28 days in the fridge at 4 degrees C and even longer in the freezer.  At 40 degrees it will last about 6 hours. Time will not protect you unless things are warm. 

When I did research in a lab, if we wanted to save viruses we’d put them in a freezer (minus 70C).

A virus is more like a chemical than a living thing.

Thanks to MichaelSmithNews.

Heat [...]

Korean professor surprised Western people don’t wear masks which are “very effective”

Professor Kim Woo-Ju, Professor Infectious Diseases, Korea, says that masks are “definitely effective”. “I find it quite odd” that the west people don’t wear masks.” “People wearing a mask have a significantly lower chance of getting infected than those who don’t.” WHO says not to wear masks, he says “I disagree.”

Around the middle of the interview he says that one of the reasons Korea has  low rate of infection is because they wear masks — as good as N95 (P2) — this is the same type as what the doctors wear.

He says Korea, and all the South East Asian countries are also experienced because they went through the SARS and MERS outbreaks. They knew what to do, they knew they needed tests fast.

He speaks well. h/t MichaelSmithNews. (via Annie ) and Chiefio somewhere (via Bill in Oz)

“In 30 years of pandemics, Ebola, MERS, Swine Flu … the Covid-19 epidemic is the most challenging”.

In the 80+ age group the death rate is 11% With the largest number of tests anywhere, they find 20% have no symptoms. But it is still not random testing. And the number may be different in other countries due [...]

Masks do help, even (maybe) stopping 75% of influenza, and you can make them

In the West the public have been discouraged from wearing face masks, and told they aren’t much help. This is mostly because they are “much help” and the front line docs and nurses really need them but no one in charge ordered enough in advance, and none of them had the honesty to say so. The daft push-me-pull-you messaging of how the useless masks are needed on the front line will go down as a case study in how not to communicate (or build trust). The truth is we do want people to wear masks in the street, because it almost certainly does slow transmission. (These Lancet authors think so too).

In high density East Asian nations, face masks are common. (And viral growth curves are generally slower, though for lots of reasons.)  Possibly after Coronavirus has gone, masks in winter might be more common here too.

Things can change fast:

Kamil Chudačík, twitter:

In Czech Republic we went from: “Look at the idiot wearing a mask!” to “Look at the idiot not wearing a mask!” in 2 days. I can say the czechs are very conservative in terms of changes so I’m surprised by this behavior. The [...]